Earthquake hits Indonesia’s Java island, deaths reported

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Residents gather outside their apartment blocks in Jakarta on early December 16, 2017, following after a strong earthquake measuring 6.5 on the Richter scale. A strong 6.5 earthquake rocked southern Indonesia near the island of Java late in the evening of December 15, the US Geological Survey said, prompting panic among people including in the capital Jakarta. / AFP PHOTO / DESSY SAGITA

JAKARTA, Indonesia — A strong earthquake shook the Indonesian capital Thursday and other cities on the country’s most populous island of Java, killing an unknown number of people amid reports of collapsed buildings.

Authorities issued a tsunami warning for parts of Java’s coastline after the quake struck just before midnight Friday. People ran out of buildings in panic in many areas and Indonesian television showed heavy traffic on roads as people left coastal areas.

National Disaster Mitigation Agency spokesman Sutopo Purwo Nugroho said there were deaths and injuries reported in the Ciamis region of western Java but could not immediately provide details. He also said there were reports that buildings had collapsed in the city of Tasikmalaya in western Java and in several western Java districts.

The U.S. Geological Survey said the earthquake had a magnitude of 6.5 and was about 91 kilometers (56 miles) deep and located just inland. Indonesian authorities reported a quake of similar magnitude offshore of Java.

Nugroho said strong tremors were felt for about 20 seconds in the capital of Jakarta and in cities and villages.

Indonesia’s MetroTV said a general hospital in the central Java town of Banyumas was damaged and patients were evacuated.

The country sits on the “Pacific Ring of Fire” and has frequent earthquakes and volcanic eruptions.