Indonesia | Edward Rodriguez

More than 260 people were killed, and 58,362 more were displaced by a 5.6-magnitude earthquake that rocked the earthquake-prone nation of Indonesia on November 21, 2022. According to local authorities, the earthquake’s epicenter was situated around 75 kilometers southeast of Jakarta, the capital of Indonesia, close to Cianjur, West Java. The quake, which occurred at a shallow depth of 10 kilometers, is still being investigated by officials to establish the full extent of its devastation. More than 25 aftershocks were detected by Indonesia's Badan Meteorologi, Klimatologi, dan Geofisika (BMKG—Meteorology, Climatology, and Geophysical Agency). Local authorities claim a fault line in the northern Cimandiri region that has not yet been documented caused this shallow earthquake.

The death toll is increasing moment by moment as search-and-rescue activities get underway, according to an immediate assessment of the situation by ADRA (Adventist Development and Relief Agency) Indonesia. The West Javan towns with the highest reported death rates were located in the Cilau, Cianjur, and Cugenang subdistricts. Indonesia is a country that lies along the Pacific Ring of Fire, where numerous earthquakes and volcanoes frequently result from the collision of several plates of the Earth's crust.

Since the aftershock, people are still reluctant to stay in their damaged homes. Numerous locations are experiencing landslides, cutting off partial access to Cianjur. The number of severely, moderately, and slightly damaged homes is still being verified by local authorities. Several government buildings, places of worship, and schools suffered damage due to this natural calamity. Due to the downed electricity and communication connections, communication efforts are currently difficult and inaccessible.

Government officials have already established communal tents and open kitchens for displaced families in the areas surrounding the city. Subdistricts that are affected are yet to form evacuation sites for displaced families. Some affected families opted to build makeshift tents in public areas or close to their damaged homes using tarpaulin. 

Data was gathered by ADRA from local churches, NGOs, WhatsApp groups run by the government, and online meetings, including ones with the logistic cluster headed by the Badan Nasional Penanggulangan Bencana (officially, the National Disaster Management Agency). ADRA personnel from Jakarta were dispatched to examine the situation and identify greatly impacted households that are most at risk. ADRA Indonesia prepares to distribute shelter kits as an initial response to affected districts.

"ADRA is already on the ground, working with the local government, other trusted partners, and churches to quickly assess the situation. ADRA emergency response teams are deployed to the hardest-hit areas to identify and assist vulnerable families and individuals. Our country office will begin distributing shelter kits so that community members can construct or improve emergency tents near their homes. ADRA also plans to launch a safety and security education campaign to inform families about the risks of aftershocks and landslides," says Elizabeth Tomenko, senior emergency program manager for ADRA International.

Rancagoong village, in the Cilau subdistrict, Limbagansari village, in the Cianjur subdistrict, and Cijedil village, in the Cugenang subdistrict, are the most impacted places. Because of this significant aftershock, people are hesitant to remain in their damaged homes.

More tents, heavy machinery to clear the road of landslides, generators for electricity, bedding kits, shelter kits, and gasoline are currently being requested by the local government of Cianjur. ADRA Indonesia is preparing to provide kits to help impacted households construct or upgrade the emergency tents they currently have close to their homes. Assessments show that displaced families immediately need shelter kits for family tents, one-person tents, bedding kits, public kitchens, genset, health facilities, and physicians.

The original article was published by the Southern Asia-Pacific Division website.