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180 dead or missing after landslides CIJERUK - Rescue workers carried on the grim task of searching for bodies today after pounding rains sent landslides crashing into several Indonesian villages, while the number of people listed as dead or missing fell to about 180. Authorities revised the figure after dozens of survivors were found to be staying with family or friends.

Indonesia's President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono promised to investigate the cause of the landslides that hit two mountainous regions of Java Island earlier this week, amid allegations that rampant logging played a role. But he suggested the best way to reduce casualties in the future would be to relocate people living in hilly regions and near fertile flood plains close to rivers. Heavy monsoon rains would likely continue through March, he noted.

Bulldozers and excavators shoved aside mountains of mud and shattered wooden houses in the village of Cijeruk in central Java and several hamlets in Jember, hundreds of kilometres to the east. Hundreds of soldiers, police and volunteers also sifted through the mud and rocks, some using their bare hands or hoes.

The number of bodies recovered at both disaster sites climbed to 160 today, with at least 23 people missing and feared dead, said Bagio, a local government official, who goes by one name. Earlier authorities said the toll could be as high as 240. Sangidah, a 40-year-old widow was still waiting for news about her 18-year-old son Agus Setiawan, who has been missing since dawn Wednesday when tons of mud, rocks and logs crashed down a hill flanking the farming community of Cijeruk.

"I have not been able to sleep for three nights, I cannot eat since the fate of my son is still not clear," said Sangidah, who goes by only one name. "He is my only son and family." She said she was just finishing early morning Islamic prayers when the landslide struck. "I ran out of the mosque as I heard the thundering sound, yelling Allah Akbar (God is Great)," said Sangidah, who was staying with about 200 other landslide refugees in a school today.

"I was so scared as I saw the land and mud chasing me, trapping many people just a few metres behind me. I kept running." Some environmental groups have said rampant illegal logging was to blame for the landslides and flash floods, but government officials denied that.

The number of bodies pulled from the mud in Jember, which was hit by flash floods and landslides Monday, ranged from 78 to 108, according to local officials who had no explanation for the discrepancy. In Cijeruk, 52 bodies have been recovered and 23 other people were feared dead, said Feriyanto, an official at the local Crisis Center who only uses one name.


Link to related event Related event:
Landslides in Java

Related blog entries (category 'Flooding') Related blog entries (category 'Flooding'):
06 January 2006 · Indonesia landslides death toll hits 120
06 January 2006 · Jember's victims build hope out of the mud
06 January 2006 · Indonesia to build world-class bird flu laboratory
05 January 2006 · Jember flood death toll rises to 77
05 January 2006 · Floods, landslides may have killed 377 on Java


Posted in Flooding @ 07 January 2006 17:44 CET by Jeroen · 'Blog' RSS feed · permalink






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