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Indonesia Quake Toll Rises; Rescues Continue

    Indonesia Quake Toll Rises; Rescues Continue
    Last updated: 4 days ago
    Image credit: AP [via Sky News]

    Facts

    • On Monday, the Indonesian island of Java was hit by a 5.6 magnitude earthquake that killed at least 271 people and injured at least 1,000. At least 40 people are still missing as rescuers try to reach people trapped under rubble. [1]
    • The earthquake was centered in the Cianjur area in West Java and struck at a depth of 6.2 miles. It did not create a tsunami. [2]
    • The earthquake damaged 22,000 houses, in addition to a boarding school, a hospital, and government buildings. Approximately 58,000 people were displaced, according to Indonesian officials. [3]
    • Many of the casualties were students in a public school who had finished classes for the day and were taking additional lessons when the earthquake hit. The death toll is expected to rise further as many people are still trapped in isolated rural areas. [4]
    • Indonesia sits atop a highly active seismic zone, dubbed the "Pacific Ring of Fire," located around much of the rim of the Pacific Ocean. The Ring of Fire is where different plates on the Earth's crust converge and produce a high volume of earthquakes and volcanoes. [5]
    • Rescuers could not immediately reach some of those trapped under collapsed buildings, saying that the situation remains chaotic. In the first two hours after the quake, the authorities recorded at least 25 aftershocks. On Tues., Indonesia’s bureau of meteorology, the BMKG, issued a landslide warning as the bureau expected heavy rain in the area. [6]
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    Spin

    Narrative A

    With its vulnerable position in the Pacific Ring of Fire, Indonesia is no stranger to catastrophic seismic events. It's vital to build on indigenous knowledge and local strength in Indonesian communities to develop plans and more resilient earthquake infrastructure. There are valuable lessons learned from past experiences that can help this vulnerable nation better withstand earthquakes over time.

    Narrative B

    Indonesia has much work to do in the arena of building codes and earthquake safety. Failing masonry and lax regulations are part of the problem, as is the sheer level of risk in the Ring of Fire. Earthquake-resistant construction is a complex effort needing great attention—deadly events like these are a wake-up call for the government to step up.

    Nerd narrative

    There's a 50% chance that at least 34.4K people will die as a result of the most deadly earthquake from 2020 - 2029, according to the Metaculus prediction community.

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