19 dead, two missing after Indonesia landslide; situation worsening in South Sulawesi


This handout photo released on Sunday, April 14, 2024 by the National Search and Rescue Agency (BASARNAS) shows rescuers carrying a body bag at a landslide site in Tana Toraja, South Sulawesi. At least 19 people have been found dead and two more are missing after a landslide in central Indonesia, local authorities said on Sunday. - AFP

JAKARTA (AFP): At least 19 people have been found dead and two more are missing after a landslide in central Indonesia, local authorities said on Sunday.

The dead and two survivors were evacuated from two landslide-hit villages in Tana Toraja regency, South Sulawesi province on Saturday evening, said local disaster agency head Sulaiman Malia.

"There have been 19 fatalities, with 4 deaths in South Makale and 15 others in Makale villages," Malia told AFP on Sunday.

"Currently, we are still searching for other victims," he said, adding that there are still two individuals reported missing, presumably buried under the landslide debris.

Tana Toraja and its surrounding areas have been "continuously hit by heavy rainfall, especially over the past week, with hardly any stop", Malia added.

The heavy rainfall eroded the soil of residential areas located on mountain slopes, leading to landslides that buried residents' homes, he said.

Indonesia is prone to landslides during the rainy season and the problem has been aggravated in some places by deforestation, with prolonged torrential rain causing flooding in some areas of the archipelago nation.

Last month flash floods and landslides on Sumatra island killed at least 30 people with scores still missing.

A landslide and flooding swept away dozens of houses and destroyed a hotel near Lake Toba on Sumatra in December, killing at least two people. - AFP

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