On air
  • RFI English Live
  • RFI French Live

Natural disasters Indonesia Weather

Issued on • Modified

At least 15 dead, dozens still buried in Java mudslide

Rescue workers uncover a body after the mudslide in Ciwidey area Reuters

Rescuers using their bare hands are trying to rescue at least 57 people buried under a mudslide on the Indonesian island of Java. At least 15 are confirmed to have died.

Survivors say that the earth flowed down a hill in an S shape, making a noise like an explosion. It destroyed homes, offices and a processing plant at a tea plantation near Ciwidey, a village near the city of Bandung.

Hundreds of soldiers and police officers, along with two excavators, bolstered search efforts Wednesday, and 15 bodies had been recovered from the huge mud pile by the afternoon, National Disaster Management Agency spokesman Priyadi Kardono said.

He said another 15 have been injured and that 25 people are believed to have died in the processing plant and offices.

Rescue efforts have been hampered by blocked roads.

Vice-President Boediono and several ministers are expected to visit the scene on Wednesday.

The disaster followed heavy rain on Monday night. Bandung district has recently been hit by some of the worst flooding in eight years, with thousands of people displaced.

Landslides and flooding are common in Indonesia during the rainy season, which peaks between December and February. Illegal logging and unplanned development increase the chances of disaster in rural areas.