Monday 11 December 2017

Indonesia landslide search halted amid heavy rains

A woman walks past houses destroyed by a landslide in the village of Banaran, Ponorogo, East Java, Indonesia (Trisnadi/AP)
A woman walks past houses destroyed by a landslide in the village of Banaran, Ponorogo, East Java, Indonesia (Trisnadi/AP)

Incessant rains have halted the search for at least two dozen people missing after a landslide swept into a village on Indonesia's main island of Java.

Four excavators working under cloudy skies dredged the mud, sand and rocks, pilling the debris up to 66ft high.

Lieutenant Colonel Jemz Ratu Edo, chief of staff of the local army, said two bodies were discovered before the search was suspended due to heavy rain. One body had been found on Saturday.

The landslide hit some 23 houses and farmers harvesting ginger on the hillside in Banaran village in East Java province's Ponorogo district.

Sutopo Purwo Nugroho, the spokesman for Indonesia's disaster mitigation agency, said 27 people were missing while Lieutenant Colonel Slamet Sarijanto said that according to villagers, 38 people were buried by the landslide.

Rescuers from the disaster agency along with soldiers, police officers and volunteers are searching for the missing. Access to the site was hampering the effort.

The landslide - measuring half a mile long and 66ft high, according to Mr Nugroho - overturned vehicles, shattered and buried buildings, and left a massive scar on a hillside where lush vegetation had been torn away.

Seasonal rains cause frequent floods in Indonesia, the world's largest archipelago nation, where many of the country's 256 million people live in mountainous areas or fertile, flood-prone plains near rivers.

AP

Press Association

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