At least 19 people have been found dead and two more are missing after a landslide in central Indonesia, local authorities said yesterday.
The dead and two survivors were evacuated from two landslide-hit villages in Tana Toraja regency, South Sulawesi province, said local disaster agency head Sulaiman Malia.
“There have been 19 fatalities, with four deaths in South Makale and 15 others in Makale villages,” Malia said yesterday.
“Currently, we are still searching for other victims,” he said, adding that there are still two individuals reported missing, presumably buried under the landslide debris.
Rescuers were trawling through the rubble for survivors, with homes reduced to planks of wood and concrete. Tana Toraja and its surrounding areas have been “continuously hit by heavy rainfall, especially over the past week, with hardly any stop”, Malia added.
The heavy rainfall eroded the soil of residential areas located on mountain slopes, leading to landslides that buried residents’ homes, he said. Indonesia’s rainy season began in January, with the meteorological agency forecasting a peak within the first quarter of 2024.
Indonesia is prone to landslides during the rainy season and the problem has been aggravated in some places by deforestation, with prolonged torrential rain causing flooding in some areas of the archipelago nation.
Newspapers said rescuers were in urgent need of heavy equipment to help clear roads.
Last month flash floods and landslides on Sumatra island killed at least 30 people with scores still missing.
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