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Landslide in Indonesia kills 15, dozens are missing

JAKARTA: At least 15 people have been killed and dozens feared missing after torrential rains and landslides hit one of Indonesia’s outermost islands bordering the South China Sea, civil protection officials said on Monday.

Images from the National Disaster Management Agency (BNPB) showed mud and debris from the landslides had inundated homes near a cliff on remote Serasan Island.

Pieces of metal torn off roofs and fallen trees could be seen.

The remoteness of the village where the landslide occurred in the Natuna region of Riau province, coupled with poor weather and downed communications lines, complicated rescue efforts, officials said.

“We have been informed that 50 people are missing and 15 dead have been evacuated,” Natuna Search and Rescue Agency head Abdul Rahman told AFP, revising an earlier figure.

Riau Islands Disaster Mitigation Agency spokesman Junainah added that it was difficult to get the latest information because the communications network in the affected area – between the island of Borneo and Peninsular Malaysia – was disrupted.

“The weather is unpredictable. The wind is strong and the waves are high at the moment,” said the official, who, like many Indonesians, only has one name.

-Hard to access-

A 60-strong search and rescue team left for the disaster-hit area from Penagi port on Natuna Island in the afternoon, BNPB spokesman Abdul Muhari said in a statement Monday night.

Muhari predicted access to the distant island would be difficult.

“Usually it takes five hours by speedboat,” he said.

“Tomorrow, the national civil protection agency will use a helicopter to speed up the logistical delivery process,” he told local broadcaster Kompas TV.

A main road in the village was also cut off because of the landslides, further hampering the evacuation process.

Indonesia is prone to landslides during the rainy season, exacerbated in some places by deforestation, and prolonged torrential rains have caused flooding in various areas of the archipelago.

Experts say the country’s weather-related disasters are likely to be exacerbated by climate change.

Floods further south in Banjar district in Indonesian Borneo have inundated more than 17,000 homes and destroyed life for a month.

Neighboring Malaysia was also hit by torrential rain and massive flooding. At least four people have died and nearly 41,000 were evacuated in several states across the country last week.

In 2020, Indonesia’s capital Jakarta and nearby cities experienced some of the deadliest flooding in years after downpours triggered landslides.

At least 67 people died in this disaster.

Source: Crypto News Deutsch

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