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  • Rescue workers search for victims near a collapsed house in Sukabumi, West Java province, Indonesia. Jan. 1, 2019.

    Rescue workers search for victims near a collapsed house in Sukabumi, West Java province, Indonesia. Jan. 1, 2019. | Photo: Reuters

Published 1 January 2019

Landslides caused by torrential rain killed 15 people in Indonesia. Many more are missing. 

Landslides in Indonesia’s heavily populated island of Java killed at least 15 people and left 20 more missing, the country’s National Disaster Mitigation Agency spokesman said Tuesday.

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The landslides, triggered by torrential rain, struck a village in West Java Monday. It also injured 2 people and buried thirty homes, Sutopo Purwo Nugroho, the National Disaster Mitigation Agency spokesman said in a statement.

“Rugged rocky roads and the rainy weather is making it difficult for our team to conduct evacuation operations,” Nugroho said, adding that heavy equipment was needed to help search for survivors.

Made Oka Astawa, head of the operations division at the National Search and Rescue Agency, told AP that two excavator vehicles were able to reach the disaster area. They helped recover several bodies buried under 13 feet of mud.  

Around 60 people had to flee to a temporary shelter according to Nugroho, who added that more than 500 rescuers were able to pull out nine bodies from the mound of mud, including an infant who died later.  

The rescuers are still searching for missing villagers.  

Indonesia is located over the Pacific's Ring of Fire, an area of great seismic and volcanic activity that is shaken every year by some 7,000 mostly moderate earthquakes.

The landslide occurred two weeks after a deadly tsunami caused by the eruption of the Anak Krakatau volcano. The death toll in the wake of the eruption and subsequent tsunami is at 429. Officials say at least 1,485 people were injured, and 882 houses and 73 hotels and villas were damaged. Around 430 boats were also damaged.

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