Indonesia: Rescuers search for dozens buried in landslides, 11 confirmed dead


Rescue workers were looking for 47 people believed to be buried in their homes landslides it tore through villages Indonesia`s remote Natuna Islands after torrential rain. Eleven people have been confirmed dead, officials said Tuesday.

Eight others were pulled alive with injuries, three of whom are in critical condition, said Suharyanto, head of the National Disaster Management Agency.

They were rushed to a hospital in nearby Ranai and the town of Pontianak on the island of Borneo, about 285 kilometers (180 mi) from the villages of Genting and Pangkalan. They are located on a remote island surrounded by choppy waters and high waves in the Natuna Archipelago on the edge of the South China Sea.

There were reports that 47 people were trapped in 27 houses buried under tons of mud from the surrounding hills on Monday. The landslides displaced more than 1,200 people who were taken to evacuation centers and other shelters. Authorities feared the death toll could rise.

National Disaster Management Agency spokesman Abdul Muhari said two helicopters and several ships carrying rescuers, medical teams and relief supplies, including tents, blankets and food, had left Jakarta and nearby islands.

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“The distribution of relief supplies has been difficult because the injured and displaced are scattered and difficult to reach,” Muhari said. The search and rescue operation was hampered by rainy weather around the crash site, broken lines of communication and a lack of heavy equipment.

Seasonal rains and high tides have triggered dozens of landslides and widespread flooding in recent days across much of Indonesia, a chain of 17,000 islands where millions of people live in mountainous areas or near fertile floodplains close to rivers.

In November 2022, a landslide triggered by a magnitude 5.6 earthquake killed at least 335 people in the West Java town of Cianjur, about a third of them children.

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