A 5.6 magnitude earthquake in Indonesia devastated the Cianjur region on Monday November 21, 2022. While earthquakes of this magnitude are not unusual for the country, the shallow epicenter (just 10km deep) and the lack of seismic infrastructure in the area multiplied the damage. The quake came at about 1:21pm, local time, destroying buildings and causing at least 268 deaths. Tragically, many of these deaths were children and young people studying in their classrooms.
The earthquake in Indonesia also caused a landslide in the village of Cijedil. The collapsed earth blocked roads and buried houses. In total, over 13,000 people went to evacuation centers after the quake, their homes destroyed. Even with shelter offered, however, thousands of people chose to spend the night in the open for fear of aftershocks. A valid fear, as there were 25 aftershocks in the first two hours after the tremor.
At least 50 schools were effected, and over 22,000 homes destroyed. Blocked roads kept rescuers from being able to reach those that were trapped in the rubble right away. Hospitals and clinics became quickly overwhelmed, with some hospitals converting their parking lots to make-shift treatment spaces and working without power.
An earthquake in Indonesia is not a rare occurrence as the country is located in the Ring of Fire. This area around the edges of the Pacific ocean is the most seismically active zone in the world. Dotted with volcanos and fault lines, it spans from Japan to Indonesia on one side, and along the western edge of North and South America on the other.
What can we learn from the earthquake in Indonesia?
The Ring of Fire includes the coast of BC in Canada. If you would like to learn more about earthquake risks in BC, we would highly recommend the Fault Lines podcast by the CBC. If you’re interested in learning about earthquake safety and planning, we also have a blog post on the subject. Educating ourselves about the best ways to prepare is one of the best ways to get prepared in case an event like the earthquake in Indonesia arrives on our doorstep.
Thank you for reading.