A strong earthquake on Indonesia’s main island of Java killed at least eight people, and damaged more than 1,000 buildings, officials said on Sunday.
The US Geological Survey said the magnitude 6.0 temblor struck off the island’s southern coast early Saturday afternoon. It was centered 45km south of Malang District in East Java province, at a depth of 82km.
This was the second deadly disaster to hit Indonesia in a week, after Tropical Cyclone Seroja caused a severe downpour that killed at least 174 people and left 48 still missing in East Nusa Tenggara province.
Some victims were buried in either mudslides or solidified lava from a volcanic eruption in November, while others were swept away by flash floods. Thousands of homes were damaged.
Saturday’s quake caused falling rocks to kill a woman on a motorcycle and badly injured her husband in East Java’s Lumajang district, said Raditya Jati, spokesman for the National Disaster Mitigation Agency.
He said about 1,189 homes and 150 public facilities, including schools, hospitals and government offices, were damaged. Rescuers retrieved four bodies from the rubble in Lumajang’s Kali Uling village. Three people were also confirmed killed by the quake in Malang district.
Television reports showed people running in panic from malls and buildings in several cities in East Java province.
Indonesia, a vast archipelago of 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.
In January, a magnitude 6.2 earthquake killed at least 105 people and injured nearly 6,500, while more than 92,000 were displaced, after striking Mamuju and Majene districts in West Sulawesi province.
Meanwhile more people fled their homes on the eastern Caribbean island of St Vincent on Sunday as La Soufriere volcano rumbled loudly for a third day and the heavy weight of its ashfall damaged buildings.
Residents reported widespread power failures early in the day, though authorities restored electricity to most of the island by late afternoon. In Barbados the sun was blocked out by ash, causing the day to appear as night.