15 killed in Indonesia landslide, dozens missing

International Desk Published: 7 March 2023, 09:12 AM | Updated: 7 March 2023, 09:13 AM
15 killed in Indonesia landslide, dozens missing
Rescue efforts are being complicated by the remote location and continued heavy rain [BNPB via AFP]

At least 15 people have been killed, with dozens missing after torrential rains and landslides hit Indonesia’s Natuna region on the edge of the South China Sea.

Pictures and video from the national disaster mitigation agency (BNPB) showed landslides cascading through forested areas and dumping mud and debris on houses on the remote Serasan island.

Bits of metal from torn-off roofs and fallen trees were also visible following the disaster on Monday.

The location of the landslide and continued rain were complicating search and rescue efforts, the BNPB said on Twitter. Communications had also been cut off, it said.

The Natuna Search and Rescue Agency’s head, Abdul Rahman, told the AFP news agency that 15 people had been confirmed dead and 50 were missing.

“The weather is changing. The wind is still blowing hard. The tidal waves are high,” said Junainah, the spokesperson for the Riau Islands Disaster Mitigation Agency, who goes by one name.

A 60-person search and rescue team left for the island on Monday afternoon, with the journey expected to take 7 to 8 hours by fast boat.

BNPB spokesperson Abdul Muhari said a helicopter would be deployed on Tuesday to speed up the logistics delivery process.

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

Indonesia is prone to landslides during the rainy season, aggravated in some places by deforestation, and prolonged torrential rain has caused flooding in different areas of the archipelago nation.

Experts say the country’s weather-related disasters are probably being made worse by climate change.

Source: Aljazeera and news agencies