JAKARTA – At least 26 people were killed after a 6.0 magnitude quake struck off the coast of Indonesia’s main Java island, its disaster agency said Saturday, as the country reels from a cyclone disaster in another part of the archipelago.
The afternoon quake hit offshore about 45 kilometres southwest of Malang city in East Java.
“The agency has recorded seven dead and one person who sustained serious injuries,” said National Disaster Mitigation Agency spokesman Raditya Jati, adding that several villages in the region had been evacuated.
It was not clear if the death toll would rise, but the agency did not report anyone missing after the strong quake.
The quake struck at a relatively deep 82 kilometres (50 miles) — shallower quakes tend to do more damage than deep ones.
Images from the scene showed a ceiling caved in at a hospital ward and debris strewn across the floor of the local parliament in Blitar, a city southwest of Malang.
The deadly quake comes as the Southeast Asian nation reels from a cyclone that killed more than 200 people in the eastern part of the archipelago and neighbouring East Timor this week.
Indonesia experiences frequent quakes and volcanic eruptions due to its position on the Pacific “Ring of Fire”, an arc of intense seismic activity where tectonic plates collide that stretches from Japan through Southeast Asia and across the Pacific basin.
Among Indonesia’s string of deadly quakes was a devastating 2004 tremor measuring 9.1 magnitude that struck off the coast of Sumatra and triggered a tsunami that killed 220,000 throughout the region, including about 170,000 in Indonesia.
The Boxing Day disaster was one of the deadliest natural disasters in recorded history.
In 2018, a powerful quake shook the island of Lombok and several more tremors followed over the next couple of weeks, killing more than 550 people on the holiday island and neighbouring Sumbawa.
Later that year, a 7.5-magnitude quake and a subsequent tsunami in Palu on Sulawesi island left more than 4,300 people dead or missing.
In 2006, a 6.3-magnitude quake rocked a densely populated region of Java near the city of Yogyakarta, killing around 6,000 people and injuring tens of thousands more.