World Bulletin/News Desk
The death toll from a landslide on the Indonesian island of Java has risen to 51, as rescue efforts were suspended for a second time Monday with 57 people still missing.
Sutopo Purwo Nugroho, head of information at Indonesia’s disaster management agency, told media that of the 51 bodies recovered, 45 had been identified and “already been returned to their families."
The landslide buried hundreds of houses in Jemblung village in Central Java province late Friday, forcing residents to evacuate the area during its rainy season.
"The search has been suspended due to heavy rainfall. It will resume Tuesday morning," said Sutopo.
He explained that farming activities had been a factor behind the landslide, which affected an area of around 17 hectares in about five minutes.
"Farms are cultivated without heeding soil and water conservation, and there is no terracing of slopes," he said.
Wahyu Wilopo, lecturer at Gadjah Mada University’s faculty of engineering, told The Anadolu Agency on Monday that 60 percent of Indonesia's population lives near slopes at risk of landslides, with the majority in rural areas.
"Around 95 percent of landslides occurred due to bad drainage triggered by heavy rainfall," Wilopo said, urging central and regional governments to review the development of land use systems and to build adequate drainage systems.
On Sunday, Joko Widodo traveled to Banjarnegara district to visit survivors and examine the evacuation process.
Banjarnegara experienced a series of landslides since heavy downpour began last Wednesday.
The rainy season in Indonesia began in late October, with the islands of Java and Sumatra expected to face threats of flooding and landslides in December amid peak rainfall.
Landslides have caused over 280 deaths this year, more than any other natural disaster in Indonesia.
Güncelleme Tarihi: 15 Aralık 2014, 14:57