Government officials in Bali have made statements confirming the extent of the damage caused by the 5.4 magnitude earthquake that struck off the coast o Karanagsaem on Tuesday, 13th December. While the initial quake did not trigger any immediate serious damage, the aftershocks have caused damage to buildings in local communities.
The Chief Executive of BPBD Karangasem, Ida Bagus Ketut Arimbawa, confirmed to reporters on Wednesday evening that “Everything was slightly damaged, 63 houses were damaged, [for some] only parts of the roof tiles fell scattered, most in Kubu District”. In six different villages in the Kubu District, the earthquake damaged a total of thirty-two houses. In Karangasem District, ten houses were seriously damaged, as well as four homes in Kerta Mandala Village and ten houses in two neighboring villages.
On Thursday afternoon the BPBD for Bali Province confirmed damage to a total of 165 buildings across the regency. The BDPB have also issues an early weather warning for Karangasem Regency and communities are warned to prepare for heavy rain and strong winds.
Arimbawa continued to confirm that thirteen private temples, eleven public temples, and two schools have reported damage due to the earthquake on Tuesday. At the time of speaking to the press, Arimbawa confirmed there had been 62 aftershocks. He urged the public to be alert for further aftershocks or damage to buildings that have yet to be recorded. Arimbawa said “This data is temporary because aftershocks are still expected will continue to happen. The public must increase their vigilance”.
The Deputy Governor of Bali Tjokorda Oka Artha Ardhana Sukawati, also known as Cok Ace, confirmed that the provincial government is continuing to monitor the situation closely. He reminded the public that the most up-to-date information regarding weather, earthquake, volcano and tsunami warnings can be found on the websites and social media channels of the meteorology agency (BMKG) and the Regional Disaster Management Agency (BPBD).
Cok Ace told reporters, “Don’t panic. Unlike what is described in the media, it is very viral. Let’s listen to the correct information from the agencies that deal with the problem”. He was referring to a viral video that has now been confirmed as a hoax.
Police detained I Nyoman M, 39, from Abang District, for sharing a video online of the BaliMed Karangsem Hospital during the first tremor. In the video, he claimed that the whole of the third floor of the hospital had collapsed, causing much concern and distress for those who had family and friends working and receiving treatment at the hospital.
The Head of the Criminal Investigation Unit of the Bendadem Police, Ipda I Gede Alit, confirmed the arrest to the media. He said, “We have secured him because he spread hoax information that made people panic…We saw the CCTV at the BaliMed Hospital to get the characteristics and identity of I Nyoman M”.
He continued to explain, “Directly that night I secured him at the Bendadem Police Headquarters, and asked for information. Then I made a clarification video so that people would not be nervous so that the BaliMed Hospital would not feel at a loss”. Nyoman M has not been charged with spreading false information but has issued an apology, noting that he made the video out of panic as the earthquake was happening.
The Director of BaliMed Hospital Dr. I Nengah Suranten, has confirmed that he has met with Nyoman M and accepted his apology. “We have held a meeting with the perpetrators, we have received an apology. We forgive, hoping that this case will not happen again”
The earthquake stuck at 6.38 pm on Tuesday 13th December. The epicenter was located 23km off the coast of Karagansaem Regency, at 8.16 south latitude, 115.62 east longitude. The earthquake was felt by the islands surrounding Bali, including as far as Mataram in Lombok, West Nusa Tenggara. There were even reports that the earthquake was felt as far away from the epicenter as Bogor in West Java.
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