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Panic strikes as quake hits Java

Publication Date : 26-01-2014


A 6.5 magnitude earthquake on Saturday caused panic among residents in Yogyakarta and some cities in Central Java, but caused minimal damage.

In Umbulharjo, Yogyakarta, locals evacuated their homes and gathered along the streets when the earthquake struck, which lasted for one minute at 12:14pm.

There was a similar situation in Bantul where people beat kentongan (bamboo tubes) to warn residents when the quake struck.

“The quake was pretty strong. I am still traumatised by my memories of the 2006 disaster when the earthquake completely destroyed my house,” said Ngadiman, a Bantul resident, on Saturday.

“The quake was mild at the beginning, but it slowly became more intense, just like the 2006 quake,” Budiyana, another resident, added.

Budi, who was out fishing when the quake hit on Saturday, said that he quickly jumped into the fish pond when he felt the ground shaking.

“I panicked and jumped into the water to protect myself. My village was severely damaged in 2006,” he went on.

In May, 2006, a 5.9-magnitude earthquake devastated more than 200,000 homes in Yogyakarta and Central Java, leaving nearly 6,000 people dead and 1.5 million others homeless. The earthquake also flattened a number of villages in Yogyakarta.

National Disaster Mitigation Agency (BNPB) spokesman Sutopo Purwo Nugroho said the quake was considered strong and affected Cilacap, Kebumen, Magelang, Semarang and Yogyakarta.

The epicenter was reported to be 104 kilometres away from the southern coast at a depth of 48 kilometres.

He said the quake was the result of tectonic movement between the Indo-Australia and Eurasia platforms below Indonesian waters.

When asked about the possibility of a Tsunami, Sutopo said the chance of a Tsunami was slim, therefore people had no reason to be alarmed.

“There were reports that a house was severely damaged and many others only suffered minimal damage in Purworejo,” Sutopo said on Saturday.

Head of the Yogyakarta Center for Research and Technology Development of Geologic Disaster (BPPTKG), Subandriyo, said that the quake did not increase volcanic activity at Mount Merapi. “The status of Mount Merapi remains normal,” Subandriyo said.

Before the Saturday quake, Yogyakarta was struck by mild quakes – with magnitude of 3 on the Richter scale — eight times in January this year, the Yogyakarta Meteorology, Climatology, and Geophysics Agency’s (BMKG) reported.

Separately, Kebumen Disaster Mitigation Agency (BPBD) head Muhyidin confirmed that no fatalities were reported following the quake.

“Indeed, the quake caused panic among residents. So far, nobody has been reported injured, but we will keep monitoring the situation in Kebumen,” Muhyidin said.

Meanwhile, in Banyumas regency, the quake caused the dome of a mosque to collapse in Kranggan village, Pekuncen. — Suherdjoko contributed to the story from Semarang


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