MEDAN, Indonesia – At least three people have died and seven have been injured in a magnitude-6.5 earthquake that struck the Indonesian island of Java, while around 950 buildings have been damaged, officials said on Saturday.
The deceased include two women aged 80 and 34 and a 60-year-old man, National Disaster Mitigation Agency spokesperson, Sutopo Purwo Nugroho, said in a statement.
The 80-year-old woman and the 60-year-old man died when their houses collapsed while the woman aged 34 lost her life after she fell while running to escape her house during the earthquake.
The quake occurred at 11:47 pm on Friday with its hypocenter at a depth of 91 kilometers (56 miles) in Cipatujah, located on the southern coast of West Java, according to the United States Geological Survey.
The Indonesian Agency for Meteorological, Climatological and Geophysics (BMKG), said the tremor’s magnitude was 6.9 and issued a tsunami alert in the West Java, Central Java and Yogyakarta provinces early Saturday, which was cancelled later, while 19 aftershocks were registered.
Nugroho said 228 houses were damaged heavily and 722 received moderate to light damage.
The worst affected areas are in West Java and include Pangandaran, Ciamis and Tasikmalaya, which is located in Cipatujah and has a population of 1.7 million.
Authorities have started distributing aid to the affected, whose exact number has not been announced, while the displaced people have taken refuge in houses of relatives or friends, city halls, schools and other public buildings.
In 2004, a powerful quake in the northern part of Sumatra Island triggered a tsunami in the Indian Ocean that killed around 230,000 people in a dozen countries, most of them in Indonesia.
Indonesia sits on the Pacific Ring of Fire, an area of great seismic and volcanic activity in which some 7,000 earthquakes are recorded each year, although most are moderate.