Indonesia earthquake death toll rises to 162

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A powerful earthquake has struck the main Indonesian island of Java, killing 162 people and injuring hundreds more. The number of victims is expected to rise further.

Rescuers are searching for survivors trapped under the rubble amid a series of aftershocks.

The epicenter of the magnitude 5.6 quake was near the city of Cianjur in mountainous West Java, about 75 kilometers southeast of the capital Jakarta.

At least another 326 have been injured.

According to West Java Governor Ridwan Kamil, many of the dead were public school students who had finished their classes for the day and were taking additional lessons in Madrasas when they collapsed.

Kamil said more than 13,000 people whose homes were badly damaged were taken to evacuation centers.

“So many buildings have collapsed and been smashed,” Kamil told reporters. “There are residents trapped in isolated locations… so we assume the number of injuries and deaths will increase over time.”

The quake was strongly felt in the Jakarta metropolitan area.

The country of more than 270 million people is frequently hit by earthquakes, volcanic eruptions and tsunamis due to its location on the “Ring of Fire,” an arc of volcanoes and fault lines in the Pacific basin.

A powerful earthquake and tsunami in the Indian Ocean in 2004 killed nearly 230,000 people in a dozen countries, the majority in Indonesia.

Nine months ago, a magnitude 6.2 earthquake killed at least 25 people and injured more than 460 in West Sumatra province.

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