Heavy rains hamper rescue efforts as authorities scramble to search for those missing in Indonesia landslide

Pavitra Dwibhashyam
Indonesia landslide

At least 20 people have been reported missing following a landslide in a remote village on Indonesia's Java Island that swept away 23 houses on Saturday (1 April). Heavy rains affected rescue efforts on Sunday as disaster management officials managed to recover two bodies.

Search operations were suspended due to heavy downpour, said Lieutenant Colonel Jemz Ratu Edo, Chief of Staff of the local army. One body was found on Saturday, Associated Press reported.

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Spokesperson for the National Disaster Management Agency, Sutopo Purwo Nugroho, said that debris from Saturday's landslide swept houses 800m down a hillside in a village in Ponorogo region of East Java.

Some victims were said to be farmers harvesting ginger crop in fields around the village, Nugroho told Reuters. He said that 27 people were still missing, while local army chief Lieutenant Colonel Slamet Sarijanto claimed that at least 38 people were buried in the debris.

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Seventeen people, wounded in the mudslide, were getting treatment at a community health centre.

The disaster management agency was being assisted by soldiers, volunteers and police officers to locate missing individuals.

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The rescue efforts were further hampered as people visiting the area of the landslide and were causing traffic jams, the spokesperson said. The landslide over turned vehicles buried buildings and washed away the rich vegetation on the hillside.

Landslides and floods triggered by incessant rains are common in Indonesia and many lives are lost annually as people reside near fertile flood plains or mountainous areas to cultivate crops.

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