17 dead and over 100 missing in Indonesia landslide
17 people have died and nearly 100 have been reported missing after a landslide triggered by torrential rainfall on the Indonesian island of Java.
Relief works got under way in Jemblung village in central Java, with 200 rescuers and 500 volunteers digging through mud and rubble after the landslide buried all but two houses late on Friday.
Sutopo Purwo Nugroho, a spokesman for the county’s national disaster agency, said “the rescue team have found 17 bodies,” adding that 11 others were badly injured and rescuers were searching for 91 people still missing.
It is not clear whether those counted as missing are trapped under the landslide or taking refuge elsewhere.
Locals reported of having heard a “thundering sound” as the ground shook when the landslide came crashing down and buried their small village.
Lack of proper equipment has hindered rescue efforts, with many forced to dig with their bare hands. Much-needed gear has been imported into the area to speed up the rescue attempt. On Saturday afternoon, rescue work was halted due to fresh rainfall, which sparked fears of further landslides.
Rescue plans have now slowed due to the wet and unstable ground. Officials say poor phone signals in the area have made coordinating rescue efforts more difficult.The search and rescue agency announced the operation would only resume once the rain stopped, which could delay work until early Sunday.
Seasonal downpours are common in Indonesia, making landslides and flash floods a familiar occurrence. On Thursday, one man died and hundreds were forced to evacuate in a village close to Jemblung, which was also hit by a landslide.
Indonesia is made up of thousands of islands and many of the inhabitants live in mountainous areas or near fertile flood plains – areas prone to landslides.