Indonesia rescuers use bare hands to search for scores missing in landslide

Indonesia rescuers use bare hands to search for scores missing in landslide

JAKARTA - A landslide destroyed a remote village in Indonesia, killing at least 11 people, an official said on Saturday, as rescuers used their bare hands to search through the rain and mud for scores of missing.

Hundreds have been evacuated from around Jemblung village in the Banjarnegara regency of central Java, about 450 km from the capital, Jakarta, where media pictures showed a flood of orange coloured mud and water cascading down a wooded mountainside. The disaster struck on Friday night.

Mudslides are common in Indonesia during the monsoon season, which usually runs from October until April.

Sutopo Purwo Nugroho, spokesman for the National Disaster Mitigation Agency, said 11 people had been killed, 15 rescued and 379 people from the surrounding areas had been taken to temporary shelters. Eleven of the rescued were receiving hospital treatment, he added.

Five of the dead were found in one car, television reported. It showed rescuers using bamboo stretchers to carry bodies away.

"Jemblung village was the most affected," Nugroho said in a statement. "Rescuers are still trying to find more victims. The challenge is that the evacuation route is also damaged by the landslide."

A rescue team of about 400 people, which included police, military and local volunteers, were using their bare hands and makeshift tools to search for people and clear the area but further rain and the threat of more landslides was making the task difficult.

"There was a roaring sound like thunder," Imam, who lives in a neighbouring village, told television.

"Then I saw trees were flying and then the landslides. "People here also panicked and fled," he added.

A second resident said there had been no warnings of the likelihood of a landslide. Jemblung had 46 houses before the disaster and a history of similar disasters, Nugroho told local television.

Delaying rescue efforts was a lack of telephone signal and heavy equipment, he added, as media showed large swathes of forest land, power lines and houses buried under the mud.

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