2006 South of Java Indonesia

Focal depth
Date (UTC)
Time (UTC)
People killed
GEMECD contributing partner
On Monday July 17, 2006 at 3:19:28 pm local time, an earthquake of moment magnitude 7.7 and focal depth of 34 km occurred in the Indian Ocean, south-west of Java, Indonesia.

The main shock’s epicenter (9.25S, 107.41E) was located offshore approximately 300 km from Pangandaran resort town. The earthquake, occurred as a result of thrust-faulting on the boundary between the Australia plate and the Sunda plate, and triggered a tsunami that caused extensive damage and casualties over more than 250 km of the south coast of Java from Garut district in the west to Yogyakarta province in the east.

The NOAA Pacific Tsunami Warning Center (Hawaii) and the Japanese Meteorological Agency issued a tsunami “watch” within 30 minutes, but not a full warning. According to MunichRe, Indonesian government officials did not publicize the emergency in hopes of avoiding any unnecessary panic and bringing discredit on the early-warning system even before its launch (it is not clear how they could have disseminate the information) [1]. As a result people living in the regions where large tsunami runups occurred were caught unaware since the earthquake was only weakly felt (MM II-IV, USGS) and not from all. As consequence the tsunami resulted in a large number of casualties. The only warning sign (not interpreted by all the people as tsunami warning sign) as witnessed by survivors was a withdrawal of the sea between 300-500 meters followed by a sucking sound [2].

1 MunichRe 2006, Topics Geo Natural catastrophes 2006 Analyses, assessments, positions
2 Reese, S., Cousins, W.J., Power, W.L., Palmer, N.G.,Tejakusuma, I.G.,andNugrahadi, S., 2007.Tsunami vulnerability of buildings and people in South Java – field observations after the July 2006 Java tsunami. Nat. Hazards Earth Syst. Sci., 7, 573–589.

Impact summary

The tsunami wave reached the coast with a maximum height of 6-8 meters penetrating as far as 200-400 m inland and sweeping away many villages along the coast. The worst-hit areas included Tasikmalaya, Ciamis, Sukabumi and Garut districts (West Java); Cilacap, Kebumen and Banyumas districts (Central Java); and Gunung Kidul and Bantul districts (Yogyakarta) [3].

Hardest hit was the Ciamis district and its popular beach resort of Pangandaran. The tsunami destroyed approximately 1500 buildings including housing units, hotels, schools and government offices and around 1650 fishing boats [4]. The degree of damage suffered by buildings was dependent on the water depth, typically severe damage or collapse occurred to buildings under 2-4 meters of water depth, and building construction type with the poorest performance observed for timber/bamboo or traditional unreinforced brick structures [2]. The lifelines systems did not suffer extensive damage.

In its final report Indonesia’s Ministry of Health reported (1 August 2006) that 668 people died, 65 were missing and 9299 were treated because of the tsunami [5]. The tsunami displaced more than 50000 people, large part of which were afraid of returning in their homes for fear of tsunami. Around 5,000 people were made homeless because their homes were either destroyed or heavily damaged and needed replacement.

The overall economic loss was estimated by Munich Re at 55 million USD including 0.28 million of insured loss.

3 http://reliefweb.int/report/indonesia/indonesia-java-tsunami-too-scared-go-home
4 OCHA situation Report #7 (21/07/2006)
5 http://reliefweb.int/report/indonesia/central-and-west-java-earthquake-and-tsunami-situation-report-11-3-aug-2006


Number of households
Number of households affected by shaking
Total number of buildings
Total number of buildings affected by shaking
Base date

Human impact

People injured
People seriously injured
People missing
People killed
People dying post catastrophe
People homeless

Building damage

Total number of buildings destroyed
Number of buildings damaged
Number of dwellings destroyed
Number of dwellings damaged

Socioeconomic loss (millions of USD)

Direct economic loss
Indirect economic loss
Insured loss

Key facts

Event name
South of Java
Event ID
Region in the country
World region
Epicentral coordinates (long/lat)
POINT(107.41 -9.25)
Date (UTC)
Time (UTC)
Day of the week (local)
Focal depth
Magnitude units
Moment (Mw)

Main data source studies

Study name Author(s) Study publication date
Reese et al. 2007, Details of casualties in the Ciamis Regency due to the 2006 south of Java tsunami. Reese, S., Cousins, W.J., Power, W.L., Palmer, N.G., Tejakusuma, I.G., Nugrahad,S. 2007-06-19 22:00:00