The distant North Maluku province was devastated by an earthquake with a magnitude of 6.2 in September 2023, putting Indonesia once more in the crosshairs of Mother Nature. Thankfully, the country avoided severe damage and casualties this time.
The “Pacific Ring of Fire,” an area known for its seismic activity, and Indonesia’s vulnerable position inside it were starkly brought home by this incident.
Let’s take a thorough look at the earthquakes that have shook Indonesia this year.
January 2023 Maluku Earthquake
A sharp reminder of Indonesia’s susceptibility to natural calamities came in the beginning of 2023. A 7.0-magnitude offshore earthquake occurred in January not far from the Maluku islands in eastern Indonesia.
The epicenter of this tremor was situated 150 kilometers (93 miles) northwest of Halmahera island, at a depth of 48 kilometers, according to the United States Geological Survey (USGS). An early tsunami warning was issued as a result of this incident, which was later lifted.
The aftermath showed a comparatively lucky outcome as the nation held its collective breath. Two school buildings and 15 dwellings were the only structures that sustained any damage, and there was only one injury that was documented.
It serves as evidence of the local communities’ readiness and resilience. Undoubtedly, the capacity to react quickly and effectively to similar events helped lessen the effects of this earthquake.
February 2023 Papua Earthquake
Another earthquake event, this one affecting the north coast of Papua, arrived at Indonesia’s doorstep in February 2023.
At 1.28 pm local time, an earthquake of a Richter scale magnitude of 5.4 struck at a depth of 10 kilometers southwest of Jayapura. These statistics were provided by Indonesia’s Meteorology, Climatology, and Geophysical Agency (BMKG).
The horrible results that followed made this earthquake unique. Four people died, and countless structures were damaged. One chilling image that went viral on social media showed a building that was only partially flooded, serving as a stark reminder of the power of nature.
Residents ran from their homes and places of business in search of shelter after being shocked by the unexpected earthquake. This incident brought home how dangerous and erratic earthquakes can be.
April 2023 West Sumatra Earthquake
A significant earthquake that occurred in April 2023 shook West Sumatra in Indonesia. This 7.3-magnitude earthquake caused a tsunami warning that lasted for about two hours, which alarmed the nearby communities. The original magnitude estimate from the European-Mediterranean Seismological Centre (EMSC) was 6.9.
Around three in the morning, an earthquake struck at a depth of 84 kilometers (52.2 miles). time zone. The capital of West Sumatra, Padang, was where this early morning jolt was felt the most strongly. Residents, who have long been aware of the risks from earthquakes, reacted quickly. Some left the beaches, highlighting the value of community awareness and readiness.
Anxiety was increased by a series of aftershocks, one of which had a magnitude of 5. The body in charge of disaster mitigation in Indonesia acted quickly, gathering information from the islands closest to the epicenter. The local news did not report any substantial damage despite the intense shakes and tense times.
June 2023 Yogyakarta Earthquake
Another chapter in Indonesia’s seismic history was added in June 2023 when a magnitude 6.4 earthquake occurred off the Javan island’s coast. A fatality from a suspected heart attack happened from the nighttime earthquake, which left at least 10 people injured. At a depth of 25 kilometers (15 miles), this occurrence was captured on camera.
Hundreds of buildings, including homes, workplaces, medical facilities, and educational institutions, distributed throughout the districts of Yogyakarta and the Central Java province, sustained minor damage as a result of the earthquake, which had an impact beyond just the deaths of people. Particularly noteworthy is the fact that the earthquake was felt strongly in many places throughout the affected areas, demonstrating the wide-ranging consequences of such seismic events.
Notably, there was no related tsunami warning in this instance, which brought some relief to the impacted parties. It served as a sharp reminder, too, of Indonesia’s special location in the “Pacific Ring of Fire,” where seismic activity still poses a serious hazard.
September 2023 North Maluku and Manado Earthquake
September 2023 brought with it a 6.2 magnitude earthquake, which struck Indonesia’s remote North Maluku province. This earthquake was noteworthy not only for its magnitude but also for the remote location where it occurred. The German Research Centre for Geosciences (GFZ) reported this event, while the Indonesian geological agency measured its magnitude at 5.9, assuring that there was no threat of a tsunami.
The epicenter of this earthquake was situated 11 kilometers (6.8 miles) northeast of Jailolo on Halmahera island. Remarkably, despite the significant magnitude, there were no immediate reports of heavy damage or casualties. However, residents in several cities in North Maluku and North Sulawesi, which is west of the epicenter, felt the tremors.
In Manado, North Sulawesi’s capital, the quake’s impact was strong and caused some panic. Local reports indicated damage to a sports center. Videos shared on social media platforms depicted residents exiting a cinema in haste, reflecting the immediate response to the quake.
These earthquakes that occur in Indonesia in 2023 are a somber reminder of the country’s earthquake susceptibility. Each instance serves as a reminder of how crucial readiness, quick action, and resilience are in the face of natural disasters.
The lessons acquired from these disasters are crucial in protecting lives and property as Indonesia continues to negotiate the difficulties presented by its unstable geological landscape.