Death Toll from Indonesian Mudslide Rises to 56
By Bayu Sasongko 16 December 2014
BANJARNEGARA, Indonesia — The death toll from a mudslide that flattened much of a village in central Indonesia rose to 56 on Monday before rain forced rescuers to halt their search for dozens of missing people, officials said.
Seventeen bodies, including those of four children, were recovered Monday, said Sutopo Purwo Nugroho, the spokesman for Indonesia’s Disaster Mitigation Agency. Fifty-two people were still missing, three days after Friday’s disaster.
More than 3,000 rescuers, including soldiers, police and volunteers, were mobilized to dig through the mud and wreckage after the landslide buried more than 100 houses in Jemblung village in Central Java province’s Banjarnegara district.
Many people in the remote farming village heard a deep rumbling sound just after dusk Friday and managed to flee to safer ground, while others were either at home or in the local mosque when mud, rocks and trees tumbled onto their village.
The search for the missing was halted Monday as rain prompted fears of another mudslide. Local army chief Lt-Col Edy Rahmatullah said it would resume Tuesday.
Indonesian President Joko Widodo, who visited the area Sunday, pledged to relocate hundreds of people left homeless by the disaster and promised government aid for the injured. Eleven villagers were hospitalized.
Seasonal rains and high tides cause frequent floods in Indonesia. Many of the country’s 250 million people live in mountainous areas or fertile, flood-prone plains near rivers.
According to the national Disaster Mitigation Agency, about 41 million Indonesians live in regions prone to landslides.