Landslide death toll rises to 20 as search ends

Authorities said they have ended a search and rescue operation after a landslide in central Indonesia left 20 people dead.

Heavy rainfall triggered landslides that struck two villages in the Tana Toraja regency in the South Sulawesi province on Saturday evening.

Rescuers had been searching for two last missing persons whose bodies were located on Monday – a 43-year-old mother and her three-year-old toddler.

“The joint search and rescue team found (the victims) not far apart because the victims were a mother and child,” local search and rescue agency head Mexianus Bekabel said in a statement on Monday.

With the discovery of the final two victims, the search and rescue operation was concluded, with rescuers “returned to their respective units”, Mexianus added.Authorities had previously said that 19 people were dead and two were missing, but put the final toll at 20.

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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