At least 15 persons were killed in the landslide which has hit Indonesia’s Java province. According to a government official, around 20 persons are still missing in the Monday landslide which hit Sukabumi district, burying more than 30 houses.
The death toll from a landslide that crashed into a hilly village on Indonesia’s main island of Java has risen to 15 after rescuers found six more bodies buried in the mud on Tuesday.
The landslide that plunged down surrounding hills just before sunset on Monday buried 30 houses in Sirnaresmi village in West Java’s Sukabumi district. Sixty people who lost their homes were forced to move to a temporary shelter, said National Disaster Mitigation Agency spokesman Sutopo Purwo Nugroho.
Television video showed relatives wailing as they watched rescuers pull a mud-caked body from a devastated hamlet. It was placed in a blue bag and taken away for burial.
Rescuers are trying to recover the victims, however, they face a threat of another landslide, spokesman of the National Disaster Management Agency Sutopo Purwo Nugroho said late on Tuesday.
“Four other small-scale landslides occurred. The loose soil texture and unstable earth conditions have endangered the rescuers, particularly when it rains,” he said.
Heavy rainfall was blamed for the disaster.
Floods and landslides affect Indonesia every year during the rainy season, which lasts from December to February.
Authorities struggled to bring tractors and other heavy equipment over washed-out roads after torrential rains sent mud and rocks crashing onto the hilly hamlets. Hundreds of police, soldiers, and residents dug through the debris with their bare hands, shovels, and hoes as heavy rain hindered their efforts.
Astawa said rescuers also pulled out four injured people, including an infant who died in a hospital. Twenty villagers are still believed to be missing.
“Lack of equipment, bad weather and a blackout hampered our rescue efforts for those who are still missing and feared dead,” Nugroho said.
Seasonal rains and high tides in recent days have caused dozens of landslides and widespread flooding across much of Indonesia. The landslide occurred during New Year’s Eve celebrations.