More than 200 Feared Dead in Indonesia Flooding, Landslide

A landside triggered by heavy rains resulted in more than 200 missing people on Wednesday in Indonesia’s Central Java province.
( [email protected] ) Jan 05, 2006 10:42 AM EST

A landside triggered by heavy rains resulted in more than 200 missing people on Wednesday in Indonesia’s Central Java province.

At least 16 people have been reported dead as of Wednesday morning and many more are missing, dead, or trapped under debris, officials reported.

"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, according to Reuters.

Before dawn, a landslide smashed into the mountainous village of Sijeruk, home to about 700 people, with mud up to 6 feet high covering the remains of many homes.

Eko Budi Raharjo, a spokesman for the local government, said that 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," said Raharjo, according to Reuters.

The news agency also noted that rescue workers have stopped searching for victims in the late afternoon due to heavy rains.

Police from the nearby town of Banjarnegara said that about 500 of the 722 people in Sijeruk village have been reported alive, according to Reuters.

The landslide in Central Java followed the one in East Java earlier this week that killed at least 77 people, including two rescue workers who drowned in swollen rivers, reported the Associated Press.

After three days of heavy rain, flash floods and landslides caused severe damages to three villages in Panti sub-district, located about 900 km east of Jakarta.

In East Java, the World Vision Indonesia team in Surabaya, capital of East Java province, has begun coordinating distribution of relief aid to landslide victims. The team is preparing to distribute 200 family kits, which include necessities such as dishes, spoons, pans, soaps, toothpaste, toothbrushes, blankets, sarongs, and plastic sheetings on Thursday.

"I have asked all staff to join hands and pack all the goods later today so that we can send them as soon as possible to the victims," said Gideon Pramono, World Vision Team Leader in Surabaya, in a report released by WV.

A survivor from Panci sub-district said the disaster is the worst to hit the area in the last few decades.

"There has been no disaster as severe as this one that I can recall," local media quoted him as saying, according to WV.

Flood and landslides are common in Indonesia, especially at this time of the year during wet season.