Indonesian rescuers abort search for landslide victims

Death toll for Central Java disaster stands at 95 with 13 missing

Indonesian rescuers abort search for landslide victims

World Bulletin/News Desk

Rescuers called off their search for survivors of a massive landslide on the Indonesian island of Java Sunday, with 13 people still missing and 95 dead, officials said.

The landslide buried hundreds of houses in Jemblung village, Central Java province, under mud and rubble on Dec. 12, forcing around 2,000 residents to flee.

Sutopo Purwo Nugroho, head of information at Indonesia’s disaster management agency, told The Anadolu Agency: "A joint team today found two dead, a mother and her child. The weather is rainy and the wide and thick pile of landslide, and the threat of further slides, led the victims’ families to agree to end the search for survivors."

He said emergency relief would now focus on providing for 2,038 displaced people.

Central Java Governor Ganjar Pranowo said bad weather led the search being called off, the Jakarta Post reported.

He said: “The rain has been falling incessantly, causing many of the SAR [search and rescue] team members to fear for their safety while carrying out their duties in the field. They are afraid that there will be more landslides. We have paid close attention to those concerns for the sake of their safety.”

He added: “Based on agreement with all parties, including Jemblung residents, we have officially stopped the search for victims today.”

Farming methods that ignored the need to build hillside terraces were blamed for the disaster by the disaster management agency.

Wahyu Wilopo, a lecturer at Gadjah Mada University’s faculty of engineering, told The Anadolu Agency last week: "Around 95 percent of landslides occur due to bad drainage triggered by heavy rainfall."

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. The country is one of the world`s most disaster-prone, facing landslides, floods, earthquakes and volcanic eruptions.

Güncelleme Tarihi: 21 Aralık 2014, 16:06