Throwback to the West Java Earthquake 2 September 2009

PUBLISHED,- Fourteen years ago, the capital city of Jakarta was shocked by an earthquake which was located in the south of West Java. That afternoon, all the residents who filled the tall building panicked and ran out of the room. Including, Minister of Finance Sri Mulyani Indrayati also stopped her presentation of the 2010 APBN at the Directorate General of Taxes when the earthquake shook shortly after a journalist shouted “earthquake, earthquake”. The press conference broke up, the activities of the Stock Exchange Building, embassy offices, and shopping centers were also not spared from chaos.

All of this happened triggered by an earthquake that occurred on Wednesday, September 2 2009 at 14.55 local time. According to BMKG, the epicenter of the earthquake was located 142 km southwest of Tasikmalaya, with a depth of 30 km below sea level. Meanwhile, based on data from USGS, the earthquake measured 7.4 SR at a depth of 60 km below sea level.

The impact of the earthquake was also felt in various areas. Tasikmalaya felt an earthquake with a strength of VII MMI (Modified Mercalli Intensity). At strength VII MMI, an earthquake can damage houses with good buildings and construction. The earthquake was also felt by people riding in vehicles.

The Cianjur and Sukabumi regions felt an earthquake with a magnitude of VI MMI. Vibration with the power of VI MMI can be felt by all residents. Most were all shocked and ran outside, the plaster of the wall fell off and minor damage was done.

The areas of Bandung, Bekasi, Bogor and Purwakarta felt an earthquake with strength V. On the MMI V strength scale, vibrations were felt by almost all residents, poles and large objects appeared to be swaying, pendulum bells could stop.

The Cibinong, Ciputat, Jakarta, Depok Cirebon, Tangerang and Yogyakarta areas felt an earthquake with a strength of IV MMI. At the strength of the MMI IV earthquake, people felt it during the day by many people inside their houses, outside by several people, broken pottery, windows/doors rattling and walls making sounds.

The earthquake vibrations that were felt and shocked the capital’s activities also had a major impact. Based on data published by the West Java Disaster Management Task Force (Satkorlak PB) and the National Disaster Management Agency (BNPB), as of September 25 2009, the number of earthquake victims included 81 people who died, 1,917 people were seriously injured, and 50,964 families or families. 196,107 people were displaced. The highest number of fatalities was in Cianjur Regency due to landslides triggered by the earthquake. 

This disaster resulted in damage and loss. The sector that experienced the worst loss was the housing sector, with a loss of IDR 6.97 trillion (88.22%), followed by the social sector with IDR 755 billion (9.56%), and cross-sectoral with IDR 156.21 billion (1.98%). ). As a result of this disaster, many community businesses temporarily stopped because their business units were damaged or destroyed, thus contributing to an increase in the number of poor people.

From the earthquake that occurred in West Java 14 years ago, we learned that the epicenter of the earthquake was in the south of Java, which could be felt as far away as Jakarta, which is to the north. The amplification factor is one of the causes of the earthquake vibrations being felt in areas far from the epicenter. The amplification factor is the magnification of the earthquake wave due to the presence of soft soil layers. 

Real evidence has been contained in past events, that development must pay attention to the threat of an earthquake. The magnitude of the impact of the earthquake that occurred should make us think to be more prepared. (LS)


Bisri, M. B. (2013). Examining inter-organizational network during emergency response of West Java earthquake 2009, Indonesia. Procedia Environmental Sciences17, 889-898.