Indonesia rescuers use hands in search
for scores missing in mudslide
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[December 13, 2014]
By Michael Taylor and Chris Nusatya
JAKARTA (Reuters) - A landslide destroyed
a remote village in Indonesia, killing at least 17 people, an official
said on Saturday, as rescuers used their bare hands and sticks to search
through the mud for scores of missing in the absence of heavy-lifting
Hundreds have been evacuated from around Jemblung village in the
Banjarnegara regency of central Java, about 450 km (280 miles) from
the capital, Jakarta, where media pictures showed a flood of orange
mud and water cascading down a wooded mountainside after Friday's
Mudslides are common in Indonesia during the monsoon season, which
usually runs from October until April. Large swathes of forest land,
power lines and houses were buried.
Hampering the rescue effort was a lack of a telephone signal and
earth-moving equipment in the isolated, rural area.
"There was a roaring sound like thunder," Imam, who lives in a
neighboring village, told television. "Then I saw trees were flying
and then the landslides. People here also panicked and fled."
Sutopo Purwo Nugroho, spokesman for the National Disaster Mitigation
Agency, said 17 people had been killed, 15 rescued, 91 were missing
and 423 people from the surrounding areas had been taken to
He said there was a history of similar disasters in the area.
Eleven of the 15 rescued were receiving hospital treatment, he said.
A government agency official added that the rescue effort had been
suspended as light faded and would resume on Sunday.
Five of the dead were found in one car, television reported. It
showed rescuers using bamboo stretchers to carry bodies away.
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"Jemblung village was the most affected," Nugroho said. "The
challenge is that the evacuation route is also damaged by the
A rescue team of about 400 people, which included police, military
and local volunteers, used their bare hands and makeshift tools to
search for people and clear the area.
A second resident said there had been no warnings of the likelihood
of a landslide.
(Editing by Nick Macfie)
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