PONOROGO, Indonesia (AP) — Rescuers on Saturday searched for more than two dozen people who were missing after a rain-triggered landslide struck a village on Indonesia’s main island of Java. One body was found before the search was suspended as rain started to fall.
The landslide hit some 23 houses and farmers harvesting ginger on a hillside in Banaran village in East Java province’s Ponorogo district, said Sutopo Purwo Nugroho, the spokesman for Indonesia’s Disaster Mitigation Agency.
Nugroho said the discovery of one dead victim left at least 26 villagers missing.
The local army chief, Lt. Col. Slamet Sarijanto, said that according to villagers, 38 people were buried by the landslide — 22 in their houses and 16 while harvesting ginger.
Nugroho said 17 people were injured and being treated at a hospital.
“The search was halted and will be resumed tomorrow because the weather conditions and unstable terrain could lead to more landslides,” he said.
Disaster agency rescuers, soldiers, police officers and volunteers took part in the search for the missing, Nugroho said, adding that difficulties in accessing the disaster site hampered rescue efforts.
The landslide — measuring 800 meters (half a mile) long and 20 meters (66 feet) high, according to Nugroho — overturned vehicles, shattered and buried buildings, and left a massive scar on a hillside where lush vegetation had been torn away.
Seasonal rains cause frequent floods in Indonesia, the world’s largest archipelago nation, where many of the country’s 256 million people live in mountainous areas or fertile, flood-prone plains near rivers.