Govt warns residents of 'deadly' landslides

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By Karina M. Tehusijarana

The National Disaster Mitigation Agency (BNPB) has warned the public to increase its vigilance against landslides during the rainy season, as three people were killed in the latest disaster in East Selalejo, Negekeo regency, East Nusa Tenggara, on Monday.

According to BNPB data, between 2015 and 2017, landslides caused more fatalities than any other natural disaster, with 1,674 incidents resulting in 463 deaths.

"Millions of people are at risk of the danger of landslides," BNPB spokesperson Sutopo Purwo Nugroho said in a statement on Monday. "Heavy rain leads to landslides, which eventually lead to casualties."

East Selalejo had been hit by heavy rain since Sunday night and the ensuing landslides buried five houses. The three victims were Paulus Loi, 70, Paulina Makmuku, 45, and Damanus Labo, 25. A further 22 people were affected by the disaster.

Landslides had also hit Sukamayu Mohili village in Nias regency, North Sumatra on Saturday.

"Out of the seven who were buried by the landslide, one has been found dead and the six others are suspected to still be buried," Sutopo said. "The joint search and rescue team is still conducting a search."

He called on residents and regional administrations to be more alert to the danger of landslides by consulting the landslide risk map created by the Geological Agency of the Energy and Mineral Resources Ministry.

"The rain will keep increasing and with it so does the risk of landslides," he said. (swd)