On Wednesday, September 2, 2009, a powerful earthquake measuring 7.3 on the Richter scale struck the West Java region of Indonesia. The epicenter of the earthquake was located 95 kilometers southwest of Bandung at a depth of 49 kilometers.
The seismic event and a series of aftershocks caused significant damage in Garut, Sukabumi, Tasikmalaya and Ciamis.
The earthquake was felt in Bandung and Indonesia's capital of Jakarta, when the mid-afternoon quake caused panic as people evacuated swaying high-rise buildings. Mild reverberations of the quake were felt in far-away Bali, which suffered no damage in the quake.
More than 55 deaths are linked to the earthquake with scores more still missing and believed dead and buried under landslides.
The heaviest death toll was recorded in Tasikmalaya and Garut.
Estimates place more than 13,000 people as homeless and living in temporary shelters following the disaster.
The intensity of the earthquake triggered tsunami sirens to sound briefly in West Java. A tidal wave of one-meter associated with the quake was recorded in the Sunda Straits, but no deaths or injuries have been attributed to the short-lived ocean swell.
Some Bali residents living in multi-story building felt a light swaying lasting nearly 30 seconds at the time of the earthquake whose epicenter was nearly 1,000 kilometers to the west of the island.
President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono has visited the areas in West Java worst affected by the earthquake and has mobilized the relevant members of his cabinet to lend all assistance possible to victims. The President, however, has issued a statement that international assistance was not yet required in addressing the disaster at this time.
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