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Eight dead, 100 missing in Indonesian landslide: official

JAKARTA: A landslide triggered by torrential downpours has killed at least eight people and left 100 missing on Indonesia’s main island of Java, an official said Saturday.

Hundreds of rescuers were digging through mud and rubble after the landslide buried scores of houses in Jemblung village in central Java late Friday, the national disaster agency said.

TV footage showed mud covering hillsides and across roads, damaged houses, and bystanders watching the rescue effort. It also showed rescuers placing an orange body bag in the back of a pickup truck.

“At the moment eight people have been found dead and we are still looking for 100 unaccounted for,” agency spokesman Sutopo Purwo Nugroho said, adding it was unclear whether those missing were buried under the landslide or had taken refuge.

“Conditions on the ground are pretty tough and we need heavy machines to clear the road that has been covered by the landslide.”

He said there was no phone signal in the area, which made coordinating rescuing efforts difficult.

A second agency official, who declined to give his name, said that 200 rescuers and 500 volunteers had joined the search for the missing.

Landslides triggered by heavy rains and floods are common in tropical Indonesia during the rainy season.

The national disaster agency estimates around half the country’s 250 million population lives in areas prone to landslides.

The vast Indonesian archipelago is one of the most natural-disaster-prone nations on Earth, and is also frequently hit by earthquakes and volcanic eruptions.- AFP

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