11 Dead in 2 Landslides in Indonesia
JAKARTA, Indonesia — Two landslides set off by heavy rainfall and unstable soil killed at least 11 people on Java, Indonesia’s most populous island, and left rescue workers searching for survivors, disaster officials said Sunday.
Among those killed in the landslides in West Java Province were the head of a local disaster relief agency and an Indonesian Army captain who had gone to help rescue survivors from the first landslide on Saturday afternoon. They were caught in a second landslide that evening.
The landslides also destroyed a bridge and cut off several roads in the West Java village of Cihanjuang. Rescuers worked through the night but faced an urgent need for heavy machinery to help move earth and reach any possible survivors.
“The first landslide was triggered by high rainfall and unstable soil conditions,” said Raditya Jati, spokesman for the National Disaster Mitigation Agency. “Subsequent landslides occurred while officers were still evacuating victims at the first landslide area.”
Deadly landslides are common in Indonesia, where deforestation and illegal small-scale gold mining operations often contribute to unstable soil conditions.
Indonesia’s president, Joko Widodo, had warned in October that the country could experience more flooding and landslides than usual because of the periodic weather pattern known as La Niña.
A local disaster official said that by midday Sunday, rescuers were still attempting to determine how many people were missing.
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