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Indonesia rescuers await reinforcements in hunt for landslide survivors

Indonesia rescuers await reinforcements in hunt for landslide survivors
A view of a damaged house that was affected by a landslide in Natuna, Riau islands province, Indonesia on March 6, 2023.
PHOTO: Reuters

JAKARTA, Indonesia - Rescuers on a remote Indonesia island searched for signs of life on Tuesday (March 7) after a landslide that killed 15 people, awaiting equipment and reinforcements to boost efforts to find 42 people still missing, the disaster agency said.

The landslide on Monday followed six days of torrential rain and buried houses on a village on the island of Searasan in the Natuna region, about 80km off the island of Borneo.

Disaster agency spokesperson Abdul Muhari said the landslide was estimated to have been 100 to 200 metres long and there were just 42 people involved in a rescue mission complicated by the remote location.

Heavy equipment such as excavators had yet to arrive, he said, with those helping in the operation required to travel by boat, vehicles then on foot.

"The number of fatalities might change at anytime. Of 15 fatalities, 10 bodies had been retrieved," Abdul said by phone, adding 1,216 residents had been moved to temporary shelters in mosques and community health centres.

A video seen by Reuters showed rescuers in helmets working with flashlights in darkness to try to free victims, with houses destroyed and roads blanketed in mud.

Two helicopters would be sent from the capital Jakarta on Tuesday to help the rescue effort, as well as a plane carrying tents, food and blankets for evacuees, said Abdul.

Natuna's rescue agency head told Antara News Agency that military would be deployed to help the rescue and some equipment had been dispatched, including extraction tools and lighting equipment.

ALSO READ: Landslide kills at least 11 in Indonesia's remote Natuna region; dozens missing

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