Landslide buries alive 10 more in Indonesia's West Java

Jakarta (dpa) - A landslide in West Java on Friday buried alive at least 10 people, raising this week's death toll to almost 30 villagers killed by natural disasters in the crowded Indonesian province, officials said.

Friday's landslide, triggered by hours of heavy rains, took place in the Cantilan village of West Java's Kuningan district, 150 kilometres east of Jakarta, said Encik, an official at Kuningan district office.

Rescue workers, comprising military and police officers working together with local residents, discovered the bodies of seven out of 10 villagers who were buried alive when an avalanche of mud and rock covered their houses, Encik said.

"Search operations are continuing for three other villagers who were still buried under tons of soil and feared dead,'' said Adjunct Commissioner Budi Pramono of Kuningan's district police.

It was the second landslide this week to hit West Java province, an overpopulated region notoriously prone to mudslides, officials said.

On Wednesday, mudslides inundated Garut district, 50 kilometres south of Kuningan, leaving at least 21 people dead and at least three other villagers, including an infant, missing.

Rescue workers in Garut district continued their search on Friday amid conflicting reports on the number of people still listed as missing, the state-run Antara news agency reported.

"We are waiting for an exact report from the related parties on how many people are still missing in the landslides,'' said Maman Sutarman, Garut's deputy chief of economy and development affairs.

The mudslides in Garut totally destroyed more than 120 houses, damaging dozens of others and forcing up to 1,700 residents to flee their homes and seek shelter at evacuation centres.

Sutarman said the local Garut's government administration was considering closing off the affected villages and moving the inhabitants to another location.

Local government authorities blamed the landslides on deforestation on Mount Mandalawangi, where illegal logging has continued unchecked for decades.

State Minister for the Environment Nabiel Makarim on Thursday called for a moratorium on logging in Java and Bali, Indonesia's two most heavily populated islands.

Nearly 65 per cent of Indonesia's 215 million people live on Java. dpa sh pj rk

AP-NY-01-31-03 0244EST

Copyright (c) 2003 dpa Deutsche Presse-Agentur GmbH
Received by NewsEdge Insight: 01/31/2003 02:44:18


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