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Indonesia is back in the news again for a natural phenomenon that happens that is very frequent in the country.
On Monday, a powerful earthquake, followed by a series of aftershocks, left a trail of destruction and killed more than 160 people in the West Java province.
Rescuers are now searching for survivors trapped under the rubble of collapsed buildings. Reports said the epicentre of the 5.6 magnitude quake was near the town of Cianjur in mountainous West Java, about 75 km (45 miles) southeast of the capital, Jakarta.
In addition to the fatalities, authorities said more than 300 people were seriously injured and at least 600 more suffered minor injuries. It was not immediately clear how many people went missing after the tremors. As hospitals are already overwhelmed, patients were seen laying on stretchers and cots in tents set up outside, with intravenous drips in their arms as they awaited further treatment.
The country of more than 270 million people is frequently struck by earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, and tsunamis because of its location on the arc of volcanoes and fault lines in the Pacific Basin known as the ‘Ring of Fire’.
The Pacific Ring of Fire is the world’s largest earthquake belt with fault lines running from Chile to Japan and Southeast Asia. That is why Indonesia gets approximately four small earthquakes every day.
But that’s just one unusual fact about the large archipelago nation, comprising over 14,700 islands.
Let’s take a look at some of them:
The Largest Archipelago in the world: An archipelago is an extensive group of islands. Indonesia is the world’s largest Archipelagic state, extending 5,120 kilometres from east to west and 1,760 kilometres from north to south.
Home to the largest lizard, the Komodo dragons: Komodo dragons (Varanus komodoensis), also known as the Komodo monitor, are large monitor lizards, endemic to the Indonesian islands of Komodo, Rinca, Flores, and Gili Motang. They are the largest species of lizard in the world, growing up to 3m long. Komodo National Park was founded in 1980 to protect the Komodo dragon.
Highest number of volcanoes in the world: Indonesia has the highest number of volcanoes in the world, a whopping 139 which are dotted throughout the archipelago. Astring of volcanoes runs through Sumatra, Java, Bali and Nusa Tenggara, and then to the Banda Islands of Maluku to northeastern Sulawesi.
Home to over 100 endangered animals: The Komodo Dragon isn’t the only animal Indonesia is famous for. The country happens to be the playing ground for over 100 endangered animals like the Sumatran Tiger, Sumatran Rhinoceros, Orang-utans, the anoa (the smallest buffalo in the world), the beautiful Merak or Peafowl, sea turtles and the Tarsius Tarsier.
Home to world’s biggest flower: The Rafflessia Arnoldia, also known as the corpse flower for its foul odour, is native to Indonesia. Rafflesia arnoldii is one of the three national flowers in Indonesia, the other two being the white jasmine (Jasminum sambac) and moon orchid (Phalaenopsis amabilis)
Home to nine World Heritage sites: They are: Borobudur temple compounds, Prambanan temple compounds, The tropical rainforest heritage of Sumatra, Komodo National Park, Lorentz National Park, Ujung Kulon National Park, Ombilin coal mining heritage of Sawahlunto, Sangiran early man site, The cultural landscape of Bali Province.
Home to over 700 different languages: Indonesian people speak a variety of languages and dialects. Papua Province alone boasts over 270 spoken dialects.
Home to the biggest Buddhist temple in the world: The Borobudur Temple, located in Central Java, is the world’s largest Buddhist Temple. Constructed during the 9th century, it has 504 Buddha statues, dedicated to Lord Buddha.