Torrential rains triggered a landslide on Indonesia’s main island of Java, killing at least two people and leaving 16 others missing, as emergency personnel digging with their bare hands and farm tools desperately sought to unearth more victims on Monday, officials said.
Hundreds of rescuers, including soldiers, police and volunteers, took part in the search for the missing in the village of Selopuro in East Java’s Nganjuk district to search for possible victims, said National Disaster Mitigation Agency spokesperson Raditya Jati.
The mud that rolled from the surrounding hills late Sunday struck at least eight houses, leaving 21 people buried under tons of mud. Fourteen other people were injured.
Jati said rescuers retrieved two bodies and pulled three injured people from the mud and rushed them to a hospital. Rescue personnel were searching for the 16 villagers still missing.
Jati said a lack of heavy equipment that was unable to reach the village and bad weather were hampering the search efforts.
Overnight rains also caused more rivers to burst their banks in other districts of the province on Monday, sending nearly 1 meter (about 3 feet) of muddy waters into more residential areas, forcing hundreds of people to flee from their submerged homes, Jati said.
Severe flooding was also reported in many other provinces in the vast archipelago nation over the past few days.
Seasonal downpours cause frequent landslides and floods each year in Indonesia, a chain of 17,000 islands where millions of people live in mountainous areas or near fertile flood plains.