Six dead, two injured in Bali landslides

Ni Komang Erviani, The Jakarta Post, Denpasar | Thu, 03/15/2012 8:23

Landslides and mud flooding in remote villages in Kintamani, Bangli regency, 60 kilometers northeast of Denpasar, took six lives and injured two people on Wednesday.

The landslides and mud floods were caused by powerful wind storms and torrential rain, which had started on Tuesday evening.

The landslides took place from 6 p.m. on Tuesday in several villages: Belandingan, Pinggan, Kedisan, Bayung Cerik, Buahan, Yeh Mampeh, Subaya and Batur Selatan.

The villages lie on the rim of what was once the caldera of an ancient and powerful volcano. A volcanic explosion destroyed the top of the mountain and formed the caldera that now has become a major tourist attraction. Bali’s largest lake sits at the bottom of the caldera.

Five people died at Belandingan Village, while another died at Pinggan Village. Among the five deaths, the bodies of two siblings, 9-year-old I Ketut Tapa and his older brother I Made Buda Ranya, 25, were still missing as of Wednesday afternoon.

Although their bodies had yet to be discovered, the search and rescue (SAR) team confirmed both siblings were dead. The siblings had allegedly been buried under the landslides in Belandingan village since Tuesday evening.

Gales and torrential rain occurring at the landslide locations have hampered the joint efforts of the SAR team and residents to find the missing victims.

“We have been forced to stop searching because of the bad weather. We will continue our search tomorrow morning,” provincial disaster mitigation agency head Jaya Seratabrana said on Wednesday.

As of Wednesday afternoon, the SAR team had retrieved the bodies of Belandingan villagers identified as Ni Wayan Rasti, 27; Made Kardi, 26; and Ni Mangku Witri, 30.

A landslide and mud flood at Pinggan village killed a 5-year-old boy Ketut Edi Putrana.

“It happened after four hours of storms and torrential rain. I was in my house when I heard a noise. I thought it was the sound of a truck engine. When I looked outside my house, I realized there had been a landslide, causing a mud flood,” said I Made Saliadnyana, a resident of Belandingan village who lives about 300 meters from where the landslide killed Ni Mangku Witri and the two brothers I Ketut Tapa and I Made Buda Ranya.

Saliadnyana said the two brothers were walking home from their farm when the disaster occurred. They were walking with two other people, Ni Mangku Witri and Me Adil.

“While walking, a 500-meter-high hill suddenly caved in and fell onto the small road they had passed. Me Adil managed to escape, but the other three were buried under the landslide,” said the teacher of Belandingan elementary school, adding that Ketut Tapa was his student in the third grade.

The two injured victims were identified as Ni Ketut Riput, 40, and Nengah Rumah, 24. Both had been taken to Bangli Hospital for medical treatment.

Meanwhile, another flash flood also inundated Sambelia district, East Lombok in West Nusa Tenggara, on Tuesday night following heavy rainfall in the area.

“We have not yet been updated on the current situation on the ground. The regent left to inspect the location last night,” East Lombok spokesman Iswan Rahmadi said on Wednesday.

Iswan, however, cited early information from local district officials saying that the flood had swept away a bridge connecting the Sambelia and Sembalun districts.

The district officers had reportedly evacuated the residents to higher ground, but no precise number of evacuees was immediately available, Iswan said.