Search for landslide victims continues
Syofiardi Bachyul Jb, The Jakarta Post, Padang | Archipelago | Tue, January 29 2013, 9:45 AM
More than 200 rescuers are searching for six missing people in Tanjung Sani village, West Sumatra. The missing people are thought to have been buried under the mud and are feared dead.
As of Monday noon, 14 villagers had already been found dead. Mud and rocks fell on the village on Sunday around 4:45 a.m. local time. Hundreds of people were forced to flee their homes on the mountainside.
The missing villagers are Bayar, 70; Nursidah, 65; Padri, 9; P. ST. Sinaro, 40; Rani, 8; and Rosmi, 75.
The local police are using sniffer dogs to find victims, but the evacuation process continues to be hampered by bad weather.
Agam’s Regional Disaster Mitigation Agency (BPBD) head, Bambang Warsito, said that rescue team would keep searching for up to seven days.
Agam Regent Indra Chatri said the landslide buried 12 houses where 11 families lived. Twenty people were reportedly dead or missing, some were injured, while eight others managed to save themselves.
The landslide has destroyed rice, corn, peanut field as well as 800 meters of road.
Hundreds of families have been relocated to avoid the risk of additional landslides.
The village is north of Maninjau Lake, some 150 kilometers from provincial capital of Padang and not far from the site of a landslide that hit after a devastating 7.6-magnitude earthquake struck West Sumatra in 2009.
Damage is estimated around Rp 8 billion (US$830,000).
“We call on residents living nearby the landslide-prone area to stay alert as the rain is still heavy,” Bambang said on Monday.
Meantime, in Jambi, Kerinci’s BPBD confirmed that five people were killed in a landslide which struck near the drilling site operated by PT Pertamina Geothermal Energy (PGE) — a subsidiary of state-owned oil and gas company PT Pertamina — in Lempur village, Kerinci regency.
“Five people were killed in the disaster and all of them are PGE workers,” said Kerinci’s BPBD head Darifus as quoted by Antara news agency on Monday.
The injured are being treated at Pertamina Hospital.
Darifus said that most of Jambi’s six districts were prone to floods and landslides.
Separately, storm damaged dozens of houses in Tlogomas in Malang, East Java, on Monday noon.
The storm, which lasted around two hours, caused severe congestions along the Malang-Batu route as many trees were uprooted and blocked the road. No casualties were reported.
Heavy downpours brought on by the arrival of the Asian Monsoon during the rainy season cause frequent landslides and flash floods throughout Indonesia, where millions of people live in mountainous areas or near fertile flood plains.