Indonesia landslide kills at least 16

A landslide triggered by heavy rains has crashed into a village in Indonesia's Central Java province, killing at least 16 people and possibly trapping scores more under debris, officials said.

    The landslide is the latest in a series in Java province

    Wednesday’s disaster followed landslides in neighbouring East Java province earlier this week that killed at least 77 people.

    The pre-dawn landslide smashed into hundreds of houses in the mountainous village of Sijeruk, home to about 700 people. Many were probably praying in a mosque at the time of the landslide, police said, adding that the mosque was destroyed.

    Local media reported about 90 villagers were missing.

    Eko Budi Raharjo, spokesman for the local government who was at the scene, said 102 homes had been buried under mud.

    "People are still in a panic. They screamed earlier today when there was another landslide, but it was not too big."

    It was unknown how many people had survived, Raharjo said. At least 13 people were injured and had been taken to hospital.

    Rescue workers called off efforts to find more victims late in the afternoon because of heavy rains.

    Dozens were killed in floods near
    the town of Jember on Monday

    Earlier, they moved two excavators and two bulldozers into the village to start shifting debris.

    Thousands of onlookers from other areas crowded around the perimeter of the destroyed village, where mud up to 6 metres (20 feet) high encased the remains of many homes.

    Police in the nearby town of Banjarnegara, 350km (220 miles) east of Jakarta, said about 500 of the 722 people in Sijeruk village had been reported alive after the disaster.

    "It happened around dawn, when people usually go to the mosque to pray. We have reports the mosque was flattened, so there may be more casualties," said officer Broto Suyatno.

    Rescue operations
    Around the East Java village of Kemiri, hundreds of rescue workers and soldiers have been trying to reach a handful of villages still cut off by floods and landslides that swept through the area late on Sunday.

    Officials on Wednesday put the death toll there at 71, including two rescue workers who drowned in swollen rivers.

    Floods and landslides are common in Indonesia, especially at this time of the year when the wet season is in full swing.

    Many landslides are caused by illegal logging or the clearing of farmland that strips away natural barriers to such disasters.

    SOURCE: Reuters


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