Death toll in Indonesia quake rises to 162

A powerful earthquake has shaken Indonesia’s main island of Java, killing 162 people and injuring hundreds of others. The toll is expected to rise further.

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

The epicentre of the 5.6 magnitude earthquake was near the town of Cianjur in mountainous West Java, about 75km southeast of the capital, Jakarta.

At least 326 others 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 extra lessons at Madrasas when they collapsed.

Kamil said that more than 13,000 people whose homes were heavily damaged were taken to evacuation centres.

“So many buildings crumbled and shattered,” Kamil told reporters. “There are residents trapped in isolated places … so we are under the assumption that the number of injured and deaths will rise with time.”

The earthquake was felt strongly in the Greater Jakarta area.

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

A powerful Indian Ocean quake and tsunami in 2004 killed nearly 230,000 people in a dozen countries, most in Indonesia.

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