The United States Geological Survey (USGS) reported a substantial 7.1 magnitude earthquake that rocked the Bali Sea region in Indonesia on Tuesday. As Indonesia grapples with its geological vulnerabilities, it faces another significant tremor.
The European-Mediterranean Seismological Centre (EMSC) pinpointed the epicentre of this tremor to be located about 203 km (126 miles) north of Mataram, Indonesia. Notably, the quake was remarkably deep, originating from approximately 516 km (320.63 miles) below the Earth’s crust.
Fortunately, the US Tsunami Warning System assuaged fears by confirming that the deep-seated nature of the earthquake meant there was no imminent tsunami threat.
Remembering Last Year’s Devastation
The nation’s memory still bears the scars of last year’s tragic earthquake that wreaked havoc on Cianjur town in western Java. The local government’s data reveals a distressing count of 268 fatalities resulting from the quake. Suharyanto, the head of the disaster agency, reported the grievous impact: over 1,000 injured, a staggering 58,000 displaced, and about 22,000 homes rendered uninhabitable. Heartbreakingly, schools weren’t spared, leading to young lives being cut short.
Given the earthquake’s shallow nature and its 5.6 magnitude, the devastation in the populous province of West Java was pronounced, particularly in the mountainous region surrounding Cianjur town. One village was buried beneath a landslide, illustrating the quake’s might.
Henri Alfiandi, who leads the National Search and Rescue Agency (Basarnas), emphasized the difficulties faced in the rescue operations. He cited landslides and rough terrains as significant hindrances. Furthermore, the widespread distribution of the affected areas compounded the challenges. “The roads in these villages are damaged,” Alfiandi remarked during a press conference, disclosing that the upheaval had necessitated the evacuation of over 13,000 residents.
Indonesia’s Seismic Vulnerability
Indonesia, situated on the seismic hotspot known as the ‘Ring of Fire’, frequently experiences earthquakes, with magnitudes often hovering around 6 or 7. But last year’s relatively lower magnitude quake was especially deadly due to its shallow depth and on-land location. The aftermath revealed the inadequacies of building infrastructures, prompting the president to advocate for earthquake-resistant housing in future reconstruction efforts.
The 2004 catastrophe epitomizes Indonesia’s tumultuous history with earthquakes. A mammoth 9.1 magnitude quake off Sumatra island resulted in a massive tsunami that affected 14 countries, leading to a staggering loss of 226,000 lives.