JAKARTA: An earthquake measuring 5.9 on the Richter scale struck off Indonesia’s Java island on Saturday, killing seven people and injuring two, and damaging hundreds of buildings in several towns, according to the country’s disaster reduction agency BNPB.
The quake, which occurred at 2 p.m. (0700 GMT) local time, was felt throughout East Java, which has a population of 40.7 million inhabitants, and neighboring provinces, including the tourist island of Bali, according to Indonesian reports.
Ten people were lightly injured, and an undisclosed number of people in many villages were evacuated to evacuation centers after several houses were burned, according to the BNPB.
According to the department, more than 300 homes and scores of other structures, including schools, hospitals, government offices, and places of worship, were destroyed.
The figures are subject to change as officials gather more knowledge on the scale of fatalities and injury.
Images in the media show flattened houses in towns along East Java’s southern coast, the nearest location to the epicenter of the quake.
According to the news website Detik.com, a massive gorilla statue in an amusement park in the town of Batu lost its head.
The quake occurred 91 kilometers (57 miles) off the southern coast of East Java in the Indian Ocean. According to the European-Mediterranean Seismological Centre, it had a magnitude of 5.9 at a depth of 96 km, down from an original magnitude of 6.8.
People were seen rushing out of a shopping mall in Malang city amid the heavy tremors in a video posted on social media.
Tropical cyclone Seroja hit Indonesia last week, causing landslides and flash floods that killed more than 170 people on islands in East Nusa Tenggara province.
“I felt the earthquake twice, the first time for two seconds, and then it stopped, but then it shook again for five seconds,” Edo Afizal, a hotel receptionist in Blitar, notified Reuters by mobile.
Indonesia, which is located on the Pacific Ring of Fire, is often struck by earthquakes. More than 100 people were killed in January by a magnitude 6.2 earthquake that shook Sulawesi island.