Powerful earthquake shook Java Island, Indonesia

 Saturday, July 1, 2023

A magnitude 5.8 undersea earthquake struck Indonesia’s densely populated Java island, leading to panic, one reported fatality, two injuries, and damage to numerous buildings. The quake, centered southwest of Bambanglipuro in Yogyakarta, occurred at a depth of 86 kilometers. At least 93 houses, along with schools, health centers, places of worship, and government facilities, were damaged in Yogyakarta, Central Java, and East Java.

Videos showed local residents in Yogyakarta and Central Java provinces fleeing their homes as structures swayed. Some areas implemented evacuations, causing streams of people to take to the streets. While there was no tsunami risk, Indonesia’s Meteorology, Climatology, and Geophysical Agency cautioned about potential aftershocks, estimating the preliminary magnitude as 6.4. Such variations in initial measurements are typical.

Yogyakarta holds immense cultural significance, being an ancient hub of Javanese culture and housing architectural marvels like Borobudur and Prambanan, both UNESCO World Heritage sites. Additionally, Mount Merapi, the country’s most active volcano, lies in the province. Yogyakarta previously experienced a devastating magnitude 6.4 earthquake in 2006, causing significant casualties but sparing the two temples.

Indonesia, with a population exceeding 270 million, frequently faces natural disasters due to its location along the Pacific Basin’s “Ring of Fire,” characterized by volcanoes and fault lines. The country’s history includes the catastrophic 2004 Indian Ocean earthquake and tsunami, resulting in over 230,000 fatalities, predominantly in Aceh province.

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