8 killed in Indonesia quake, president orders rescue effort

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Indonesian President Joko Widodo on Sunday ordered swift rescue and relief efforts after eight people died in an earthquake that hit off southern Java island.

Three others were badly injured in Saturday’s magnitude-5.9 quake and more than 1,180 buildings were damaged, most of them slightly, the disaster agency BNPB said. Some houses were flattened, images in Indonesian media showed.

Two shelters for the displaced have been set up in the town of Lumajang.

All of the casualties were reported in 15 districts and cities in East Java, the closest province to the epicentre of the quake, which struck in the Indian Ocean.

Residents salvage items from damaged homes in Malang, East Java after an earthquake struck off the coast of Indonesia’s main Java island. (Juni Kriswanto/AFP/Getty Images)

“I have ordered … immediate emergency response to search and find victims under the rubble and to treat the wounded,” the president, known by his popular name Jokowi, said in broadcast remarks.

There were no reports of the quake disrupting production facilities, but the BNPB said 150 public facilities were damaged. Most industrial areas in East Java are located in the northern side of the island.

Jokowi noted that as Indonesia straddles the volcanic “Ring of Fire” in the Pacific, natural disasters such as earthquakes could happen anytime, adding that Indonesians should always be prepared.

A man salvages his belongings at a house damaged in Lumajang, East Java province, Indonesia on Sunday. (Zabur Karuru/Antara Foto/Reuters)

The Southeast Asian nation was struck last week by tropical cyclone Seroja, which triggered landslides and flash floods killing more than 170 people on islands in East Nusa Tenggara province.

A magnitude-6.2 quake that hit Sulawesi island in January killed more than 100 people.

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