May 2006 Java earthquake

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May 2006 Java earthquake
May 2006 Java earthquake is located in Java
May 2006 Java earthquake
Date 27 May 2006 (2006-05-27)
Origin time 05:54 local time
Magnitude 6.3 Mw
Depth 10 km (6 mi)
Epicenter 7°57′43″S 110°27′29″E / 7.962°S 110.458°E / -7.962; 110.458Coordinates: 7°57′43″S 110°27′29″E / 7.962°S 110.458°E / -7.962; 110.458
Type Strike-slip
Countries or regions Indonesia
Casualties 5,782 dead
36,000+ injured [2]

The May 2006 Java earthquake occurred at 05:54 local time on 27 May in the Indian Ocean around 25 km (16 mi) south-southwest of the Indonesian city of Yogyakarta, near Galur, on the southern side of the island of Java. The shock occurred at a depth of 10 km (6.2 mi) with a magnitude of 6.3 (according to the U.S. Geological Survey) and two aftershocks measuring 4.8 and 4.6 occurred between four and six hours later.


Collapsed houses in Klaten.

The quake caused 5,782 deaths, while 36,299 people were injured, 135,000 houses damaged, and an estimated 1.5 million left homeless.[1] 3,580 of those deaths and more than 1,892 injuries occurred in the area of Bantul, while 1,668 others died in villages in the southern parts of Klaten district.[2] Around five million people live within 50 km of the epicentre.[3]

Residents as far inland as Yogyakarta and Klaten fled inland in fear of a repeat of the 2004 tsunami, but such an event did not transpire. The Solo-Yogya highway was jammed with people fleeing in panic. Fear of loss through theft had also been a significant factor in the reluctance of many people living near Mt. Merapi to be evacuated when the volcano showed high activity earlier in the year.

Damage was not strictly a function of distance from the epicenter. Some areas of downtown Yogyakarta were hardly affected, while parts of Prambanan, which is over 10 km further from the epicenter, were severely hit. In particular, buildings alongside the Solo-Yogya road, including the ancient complex of Hindu temples, suffered substantial damage.[4][5] As of November 2009, part of the temple complex was still cordoned off while reconstruction work continued. The quake destroyed 567 schools and damaged 537.[6]

The earthquake is thought to have been tectonic in origin and not directly associated with the ongoing eruption of nearby Mount Merapi, although the earthquake is reported to have caused increased activity in the volcano.[7] The isle of Java lies on the boundaries of the Australian plate and the Eurasian plate. This position places it on the Ring of Fire and predisposes it to common earthquakes and other tectonic activity. The interaction of the two plates below the surface of the Earth caused this earthquake.

The sea south of Java is historically associated with many earthquakes, as indicated in the Historic Seismicity map of the USGS.[8] During 2006, there were a couple dozen quakes of similar strength off the coast, but most of them were deeper or further from shore, thus less damaging to people and infrastructure.[8]


Patients being treated at a hospital in Yogyakarta.

Although Tsunami warnings were issued in the early aftermath of the earthquake, the earthquake did not cause any tsunami activity.


President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono moved the army to the central Java province to aid rescue efforts and the evacuation of victims. A team of Cabinet Ministers was also sent to oversee the operations.

International aid[edit]

Many countries and organizations offered foreign aid to the devastated region, but the actual amounts delivered/received often varied from these figures, as in the case of other disasters.

  • Japan promised $10 million USD, sent two medical teams and also announced that it will send troops to help out[9]
  • Australia offered 7.5 million Australian dollars ($5,675,000 USD) in aid relief, including 27 member medical team among over 80 personnel[12]
  • Canada offered two million Canadian dollars ($1.8 million USD)[14]
  • India put forward an aid package worth $2 million.[15]
  • The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Mormons) donated $1.6 million USD worth of emergency supplies to devastated areas, teaming up with Islamic Relief Worldwide who provided the transportation. In addition, local Indonesian LDS members prepared thousands of meals, hygiene kits, cots, mattresses, and blankets for those requiring medical attention.[16]
A fallen pinnacle from the damaged Prambanan temple
  • The Netherlands promised 1 million euros in May plus an extra 10 million euros one month later, Belgium has pledged $832,000, while Norway, France and Italy have offered either medical teams or relief supplies[9]
  • Singapore offered humanitarian relief assistance in the form of a 35-member Armed Forces Medical Team, a 43-member Civil Defense Force Disaster Assistance and Rescue Team, as well as $50,000 USD worth of emergency supplies[18]
  • King Abdullah II of Jordan ordered to dispatch a plane laden with humanitarian relief to alleviate the suffering of Indonesian earthquake victims that hit Java. The aid included blankets, medicines and other medical equipment.[22]
  • MERCY Malaysia[23] sent 6 Missions to Yogya the first being sent on the 28th of May 2006. Datuk Dr. Jemilah Mahmood, President of MERCY Malaysia (Mission Leader) and Saiful Nazri, Programme Officer from MERCY Aceh Office went there on the first mission travelling by a special United Nations Humanitarian Air Services (UNHAS) flight from Banda Aceh along with other international organisations based in Aceh and two (2) tonnes of medical supplies contributed by the international agencies from Aceh. The first team had secured ground logistics for the subsequent teams coming in from Kuala Lumpur.
  • Eric Edmeades, a Canadian Entrepreneur and author, was traveling in Bali at the time of the quake. He rented a truck, filled it with food, water and medical supplies and—against government advice—went to Jogja to undertake first hand relief work.[24]


Most international wire services had already had reporters or 'stringers' in the area due to the Mount Merapi eruption to the north of Yogyakarta.

Yogyakarta for many is associated with Borobudur and Prambanan, even though both locations are some distance away from the town. As a result, news stories tend to emphasize the condition of those places. Borobudur suffered no damage whereas Prambanan, which is much closer to the epicentre, has according to reports,[4] suffered significant damage.

The reporting of the immensity of the problems that were evolving following the earthquake also competed with the crisis in East Timor (Timor Leste) in the media of some countries like Australia and New Zealand.


The earthquake's shallow depth was a major factor, but the scale of the damage was made worse by failure to meet safe building standards and employ basic earthquake-resistant construction methods, according to FuturArc.[25] Most homes in the area were built with low-quality materials without structural frames and reinforcing pillars. Many deaths and injuries occurred when buildings and walls collapsed.

The government was slow to implement assistance in reconstructing private houses, leading many homeowners to repair or rebuild their homes either by themselves or with community help. Reconstruction in some areas was aided by relief agencies, like the Red Cross Red Crescent.

Villagers rebuilt their homes with extremely limited resources, using simple affordable materials. They turned to traditional materials, such as bamboo, because of the damage inflicted by collapsing brick walls.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Indonesia lowers quake death toll". CNN. 2006-06-06. Archived from the original on June 15, 2006. Retrieved 2006-06-06. 
  2. ^ "Indonesia quake death toll passes 5,800". Forbes. 2006-05-31. Retrieved 2006-05-31. 
  3. ^ "Global Disaster Alert and Coordination System". European Commission DG JRC. 2006-05-27. Retrieved 2006-05-27. 
  4. ^ a b Sebastien Berger (2006-05-30). "An ancient wonder reduced to rubble". The Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 2006-05-30. 
  5. ^ "Candi Prambanan Kena Gempa". detikcom. 2006-05-27. Retrieved 2006-05-30.  (Indonesian)
  6. ^ [1] Hariyadi, Mathias. "A year after the quake in Yogyakarta people still live in tents and bamboo buildings." Asianews. May 29, 2007. Retrieved May 8, 2009
  7. ^ Sukarsono, Achmad (2006-05-27). "Indonesian quake kills thousands". Retrieved 2006-05-27. [dead link]
  8. ^ a b
  9. ^ a b c d "Aid pledges for Java victims rise". BBC News. 2006-05-29. Retrieved 2006-05-29. 
  10. ^ a b "Aid offers pour in for Java quake". BBC News. 2006-05-28. Retrieved 2006-05-28. 
  11. ^ "U.S. Military Joins Indonesia Quake Relief". CBS News. 2006-05-31. Archived from the original on June 14, 2006. Retrieved 2006-05-31. 
  12. ^ "Australia send 80 skilled personnel to Yogyakarta". Antara. 2006-05-31. Retrieved 2006-05-31. 
  13. ^ "China to offer 2 mln dollars aid to quake-hit Indonesia". People's Daily Online. 2006-05-28. Retrieved 2006-05-28. 
  14. ^ "Ottawa pledges $2M to Indonesia quake victims; no Canadians reported affected". Maclean's. 2006-05-27. Archived from the original on June 14, 2006. Retrieved 2006-05-28. 
  15. ^ "India steps up aid to Indonesia". The Hindu. 2006-05-29. Retrieved 2006-05-30. 
  16. ^ "Mormons Donate for Indonesia Earthquake Relief". The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints Newsroom. 2006-05-31. Retrieved 2006-05-31. 
  17. ^ "All our students in Yogyakarta safe". The Star, Malaysia. 2006-05-28. Retrieved 2006-05-28. 
  18. ^ "Singapore's aid teams arrive in quake-hit Java". Channel NewsAsia. 2006-05-28. Retrieved 2006-05-28. 
  19. ^ "UN health agency rushes aid to quake-struck parts of Indonesia". UN News Centre. 2006-05-29. Retrieved 2006-05-30. 
  20. ^ "Vietnam sends rice aid to Java quake victims". VietNamNet Bridge. 2006-05-31. Archived from the original on 2006-06-13. Retrieved 2006-05-31. 
  21. ^ "Island aid for Indonesia". Manx Radio. 2006-05-31. Archived from the original on May 6, 2006. Retrieved 2006-06-01. 
  22. ^ "King orders dispatch of aid to Indonesian Earthquake Victims". Petra News Agency (Jordan). 2006-05-31. Archived from the original on June 14, 2006. Retrieved 2006-06-01. 
  23. ^
  24. ^ "Earthquake Relief Work; For Real". TravelBlog. 2006-05-31. Retrieved 2006-06-01. 
  25. ^

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