Jakarta feels the earth move

"Our environment is broken," said Green Radio station manager Nita Roshita after a 7.0 magnitude earthquake hit the Indonesia island of Java Wednesday. Employees at the station buzzed with nervous energy as they stood around the parking lot watching a car rock slowly on its wheels. Minutes after the tremor, however, the station was back to broadcasting as usual.

Earthquakes are common fare in Indonesia, which sits along the Pacific Ring of Fire and is prone to shocks caused by the earth’s tectonic movements. Since the December 2004 tsunami that began off the coast of northern Sumatra and led to the deaths of around 230,000 people, Indonesia has been hit by 29 quakes of 6.3 magnitude or higher, the New York Times reported.

The death toll in this latest quake was at least 32,  and 27 people were admitted to the hospital in Jakarta, 120 miles southeast from the tremor’s epicenter, a Health Ministry official told the AP.

Buildings in the capital began swaying around 3pm and office workers poured into the streets. Traffic was tied up for hours, but things had largely returned to normal by sundown, the time most people in the Muslim majority nation break the fast during the holy month of Ramadan.

The official Anantara news agency said 30 people were trapped under debris caused by a landslide in one village, while Social Affairs Ministry officialMardi told the AP that more than 700 houses and buildings had been badly damaged by the quake.

A series of earthquakes have struck off the western coast of Indonesia’s Sumatra Island since early August, but the 7.0 magnitude exceeded the size of those earlier quakes according to the US Geological Survey.