NGANJUK, Indonesia: Torrential rains triggered a landslide on Indonesia’s main island of Java, killing at least nine people and leaving 10 others missing, as emergency personnel digging with their bare hands and farm tools desperately sought to unearth more victims on Monday (Feb 15), officials said.
Twenty-one people were initially reported missing after the disaster struck Sunday evening in a rural part of East Java.
Hundreds of rescuers, including soldiers, police and volunteers, took part in the search for the missing in the village of Selopuro in East Java’s Nganjuk district, said National Disaster Mitigation Agency spokesperson Raditya Jati.
Indonesia's Search and Rescue Agency said it had found nine bodies, but was still searching for 10 others.
The other two people had been rescued.
"We cannot bring heavy equipment to the site of the landslides currently. However, we are currently trying to make our way," the East Java Search and Rescue Agency told AFP in a written statement.
The landslide also seriously damaged eight houses, said the agency.
Rescuers on Monday found bodies buried under as much as 6m of mud, Nganjuk district chief Novi Rahman Hidayat said.
Pasuruan, a town in the same province, was also flooded after a river overflowed due to the heavy rains, forcing more than 350 people to flee their homes, the agency added.
Severe flooding was also reported in many other provinces in the vast archipelago nation over the past few days.
Seasonal downpours cause frequent landslides and floods each year in Indonesia, a chain of 17,000 islands where millions of people live in mountainous areas or near fertile flood plains.