Death toll from Indonesian mudslide rises to 51

AP News
Posted: Dec 15, 2014 6:27 AM

BANJARNEGARA, Indonesia (AP) — The death toll from a mudslide that flattened much of a village in central Indonesia rose to 51 on Monday before rain forced rescuers to halt their search for dozens of missing people, officials said.

Police rescue coordinator Lt. Col. Wika Hardiyanto said 11 bodies were recovered Monday, raising the confirmed toll to 51.

"Supported by excavators and dogs, we managed to pull out the bodies of six men and five women," Hardiyanto told reporters.

More than 3,000 rescuers, including soldiers, police and volunteers, have been mobilized to dig through the mud and wreckage after the landslide Friday buried more than 100 houses in Jemblung village in Central Java province's Banjarnegara district.

Many people in the remote farming village heard a deep rumbling sound just after dusk Friday and managed to flee to safer ground, while others were either at home or in the local mosque when mud, rocks and trees tumbled onto their village.

The search for more than 55 people believed still missing was halted Monday as rain prompted fears of another mudslide. Local army chief Lt. Col. Edy Rahmatullah said it would be resumed Tuesday.

Indonesian President Joko Widodo, who visited the area Sunday, pledged to relocate hundreds of people left homeless by the disaster and promised government aid for the injured. Eleven villagers were hospitalized.

Seasonal rains and high tides cause frequent floods in Indonesia. Many of the country's 250 million people live in mountainous areas and fertile flood plains near rivers.

According to the national Disaster Mitigation Agency, about 41 million people live in regions prone to landslides.