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Landslides leave 12 dead, 14 missing in Indonesia

  • An Indonesian search and rescue team along with villagers search for victims of a recent landslide that hit Nagari Sungai Batang village in Agam on January 27, 2013. AFP PHOTO

JAKARTA: The death toll has risen to 12 in two separate landslides triggered by torrential rain in western Indonesia, including five geothermal workers, and buried more than a dozen others, officials said Sunday.

The worst landslides happened in Tanjung Sani of Agam district in West Sumatra province, where 20 houses were buried when mud and rocks fell from surrounding hills at dawn on Sunday, killing seven villagers, said disaster official Ade Edward.

He said five injured villagers were being treated at a hospital, including one in critical condition. The bodies of the dead have been evacuated and rescuers using heavy digging equipment are searching for 14 people who reportedly were buried under the mud.

Hundreds of terrified survivors fled their hillside homes for tents on safer ground, fearing more of the mountainside would collapse under continuing rain, Edward said.

In the neighboring province of Jambi, days of heavy rains triggered a landslide in a drilling field owned by PT. Pertamina Geothermal Energy, a state-run company, late Saturday. The death toll there rose to five after searchers pulled out the body of another worker from the mud on Sunday, said Sutopo Purwo Nugroho from the National Disaster Mitigation Agency.

Company official Adiatma Sardjito said 60 workers survived Saturday's landslide.

"The workers were having dinner when the landslide suddenly ocurred," Sardjito said, adding the disaster left five others hurt.

He said the landslide did not impact their production.

Seasonal downpours cause frequent landslides and flashfloods each year in Indonesia, a chain of 17,000 islands where millions of people live in mountainous areas or near fertile flood plains.

 
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