12 dead, 297 evacuated after heavy rain triggers landslide in Indonesia's West Java

JAKARTA (JAKARTA POST/ASIA NEWS NETWORK) - Twelve people were killed and 11 houses buried after a landslide was triggered by heavy rain in Sukabumi regency, West Java, an official said Sunday.

The landslide hit Cimerak hamlet, Tegal Panjang village, late on Saturday after a heavy downpour, according to National Disaster Mitigation Agency (BNPB) spokesman Sutopo Purwo Nugroho.

"We found all 12 bodies," Sutopo said as quoted by AFP.

He said heavy rain caused a cliff to collapse, hitting the village and burying 11 houses.

Meanwhile, Sukabumi Disaster Mitigation Agency (BNPD) preparation and prevention division head Irwan told The Jakarta Post on Sunday that a joint team consisting of 150 people, comprising soldiers, police officers and volunteers, concentrated the search in two locations at the scene of the landslide, which occurred at 11pm.

He said the officers had also evacuated 297 people from 97 families from the landslide location.

"The landslide was caused by a heavy downpour in the area. The area is prone to landslides," he said.

On Nov 7 last year, a landslide hit Bojonggenteng district, Sukabumi, after heavy rain, leaving a 2-year-old child identified as M. Ridwan dead and several other residents injured.

Landslides triggered by heavy rain and flooding are common in tropical Indonesia during the rainy season.

The BNPB estimates around half of the country's 250 million population live in landslide-prone areas.

The vast Indonesian archipelago, one of the world's most disaster-prone countries, is also frequently hit by earthquakes and volcanic eruptions.

A massive landslide hit Jemblung hamlet, Banjarnegera regency, Central Java in December last year, killing over 100 people when a hill collapsed after a heavy downpour.

Hundreds of residents in the area remain displaced and are living with relatives.

In the same month, a landslide buried a house in Kertamulya village in the Padalarang district in West Java.

In November last year, at least four people died and a 4-month-old baby went missing in a landslide that hit Sibio Bio village in Sibabangun, Central Tapanuli, North Sumatra.