Landslide in Indonesia destroys village, killing 32- with 76 still missing and hundreds forced to flee

  • Red soil covered more than 100 homes in Java province after three landslides 'swept everything away'
  • Rescuers couldn't use heavy machinery and were forced to dig with their bare hands and makeshift tools
  • One villager said he heard people screaming and pleading for help in the heavy rain and darkness

Heavy rains in central Indonesia loosened soil and collapsed a hill, setting off a landslide that killed at least 32 villagers and left 76 others missing under piles of mud, officials have said.

Residents of Jemblung village in Central Java province's Banjarnegara district said they heard a roaring sound followed by the rain of red soil that buried more than 100 houses late on Friday.

'The landslide looked like it was spinning down. I managed to rescue a pregnant woman, but could not save the other man,' said Subroto, who like many Indonesians uses only one name.

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Members of the search and rescue team remove a victim's body at Jemblung village in Banjarnegara, Central Java. At least 32 villagers are dead and 76 others are missing after the mudslide

Members of the search and rescue team remove a victim's body at Jemblung village in Banjarnegara, Central Java. At least 32 villagers are dead and 76 others are missing after the mudslide

Loss: A rescuer unearths yet another dead body in the mud. Dozens of villagers are still missing

Loss: A rescuer unearths yet another dead body in the mud. Dozens of villagers are still missing

Rescuers are passed a body bag after a body was discovered in the mudslide, caused by torrential rain

Rescuers are passed a body bag after a body was discovered in the mudslide, caused by torrential rain

 

Devastation: Police, soldiers and volunteers had used their bare hands and makeshift tools to search for survivors and clear the area on Saturday after the disaster struck on Friday night

Devastation: Police, soldiers and volunteers had used their bare hands and makeshift tools to search for survivors and clear the area on Saturday after the disaster struck on Friday night

Rescue workers stand near houses buried in the mud after a landslide hit the village of Jemblung in Banjarnegara. A 'rain' of red soil covered 100 homes on Friday night. Rescuers are still searching the debris

Rescue workers stand near houses buried in the mud after a landslide hit the village of Jemblung in Banjarnegara. A 'rain' of red soil covered 100 homes on Friday night. Rescuers are still searching the debris

Sutopo Purwo Nugroho, spokesman for the National Disaster Mitigation Agency, said 577 people from the surrounding areas had been taken to temporary shelters

Sutopo Purwo Nugroho, spokesman for the National Disaster Mitigation Agency, said 577 people from the surrounding areas had been taken to temporary shelters

He said one side of the hill collapsed and then another. 'In five minutes, there were three (major landslides) and they swept away everything,' he said.

Sutopo Purwo Nugroho, spokesman for the National Disaster Mitigation Agency, said 577 people from the surrounding areas had been taken to temporary shelters.

There were 2,000 rescuers involved in the operation on Sunday, he said.

'We hope we can operate all of the heavy equipment today,' Nugroho told Reuters. 'We could not operate the equipment soon after the landslide. We had to be very careful about the stability of the ground.'

Villagers dig out a motorcycle buried in the mud after a landslide hit the village. Seasonal rains and high tides in recent days have caused dozens of landslides and widespread flooding across much of Indonesia

Villagers dig out a motorcycle buried in the mud after a landslide hit the village. Seasonal rains and high tides in recent days have caused dozens of landslides and widespread flooding across much of Indonesia

Destruction: Rescuers evacuate the debris of a car swamped by the landslide. Dozens of homes were buried in the village

Destruction: Rescuers evacuate the debris of a car swamped by the landslide. Dozens of homes were buried in the village

Some rescuers heard what sounded like calls for help coming from the debris, but they did not have heavy equipment to dig

Some rescuers heard what sounded like calls for help coming from the debris, but they did not have heavy equipment to dig

Grim toll: People scan a list of names looking for missing family members and relatives in the aftermath of the disaster

Grim toll: People scan a list of names looking for missing family members and relatives in the aftermath of the disaster

A rescue team carry away a cow after a landslide at Jemblung village in Banjarnegara. Rescue efforts were hampered by a lack of heavy equipment and were forced to use their bare hands and makeshift tools

A rescue team carry away a cow after a landslide at Jemblung village in Banjarnegara. Rescue efforts were hampered by a lack of heavy equipment and were forced to use their bare hands and makeshift tools

President Joko Widodo is travelling to Banjarnegara, about 285 miles (460km) east of the capital, Jakarta, to meet survivors and about 570 residents who were evacuated to temporary shelters. 

Eleven injured villagers were taken to hospital.

Mr Nugroho said yesterday that some rescuers heard what sounded like calls for help coming from the debris, but they did not have equipment to dig.

'Mud, rugged terrain and bad weather hampered our rescue efforts,' he said.

Deluge: The landslide was the second in several days on densely populated Java island

Deluge: The landslide was the second in several days on densely populated Java island

Desperation: One villager said he heard people screaming and pleading for help in the heavy rain and darkness. But he said he was unable to do anything other than run with his family to safety

Desperation: One villager said he heard people screaming and pleading for help in the heavy rain and darkness. But he said he was unable to do anything other than run with his family to safety

Indonesian rescuers search for victims after the landslide hit. More than 2,000 people were involved in rescue efforts. Millions of people in the country live in mountainous areas or near flood-prone plains close to rivers

Indonesian rescuers search for victims after the landslide hit. More than 2,000 people were involved in rescue efforts. Millions of people in the country live in mountainous areas or near flood-prone plains close to rivers

Tractors and bulldozers were later brought in.

'It was like a nightmare. ... We suddenly heard a terrible roar and we were immediately fleeing from the rain of red soil,' said Wahono, a resident who survived with four family members. 'Many failed and they were buried in the ground.'

Wahono said he heard people screaming and pleading for help in the heavy rain and darkness. But he said he was unable to do anything other than run with his family to safety.

The landslide was the second in several days on densely populated Java island. Mud and rocks hit Central Java's Wonosobo district on Thursday, killing at least one villager.

Seasonal rains and high tides in recent days have caused dozens of landslides and widespread flooding across much of Indonesia, a chain of 17,000 islands where millions of people live in mountainous areas or near fertile flood-prone plains close to rivers.

 

 

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