Landslides kill one in Central Java, bury houses in Batam
The Jakarta Post
Heavy downpours in a number of parts of the country over the weekend have resulted in landslides, killing one person in Semarang regency and burying several houses in Batam.
In Semarang regency, Central Java, the body of Margono Marsono, 78, of Kendal Ngisor village, Banyubiru subdistrict, was found on Sunday morning; Margono had been reported missing in the wake of a landslide that struck the area on Saturday evening.
The coordinator of the Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle (PDI-P) Semarang branch disaster mitigation division, Bondan Marutohening, said that a joint search and rescue (SAR) team comprising dozens of rescuers had recovered the dead man's body with the use of light equipment, as the location was difficult for heavy equipment to access.
'[Margono] was suffocated by the debris,' said Bondan as quoted by tribunjateng.com on Sunday, adding that the discovery of the body had been preceded by that of a hat, a sickle and a sack of grass.
The joint team, Bondan went on, had spent Saturday night at the search site and continued the search on Sunday morning. 'The body was found among the debris at around 9:30 am,' he said.
Landslides also hit parts of Batam in Riau Islands province following light rain over the city from Saturday to Sunday morning.
The landslide caused a 50-meter-long blockage on the main road connecting Batamindo industrial area to nearby residential areas.
The landslide also hit 19 houses in the Nusa Indah residential compound, but no fatalities were reported in the incident.
Four of the 19 houses were buried in debris while the other 15 were damaged, forcing the local authorities to evacuate 78 people, the inhabitants of the houses hit.
The Batam Disaster Mitigation Agency (BPBD) erected emergency tents to accommodate the evacuees.
Dedy Arman, 34, of Nusa Indah said that sounds had reverberated from the hills above the complex since the night before, sounds he post factum believed to come from trees about to fall.
'This morning, there was a sudden onslaught of soil thundering down the hillside, hitting the houses in the farthest block at the foot of the hill. Luckily, there was a degree of forewarning, which meant that no one was inside the houses and there were no fatalities,' Dedy said.
Batam BPBD chief Raja Azman, said that the 78 people from the 19 affected houses had been evacuated in anticipation of potential further landslides, so as to ensure the disaster claimed no lives.
His office, Raja went on, had prepared makeshift tents and public kitchens to accommodate the evacuees until the situation was deemed secure and they could return to their homes.
Meanwhile, the road blocked by the landslide was temporarily closed and traffic redirected to alternative routes.
'We're still undecided as to whether it would be better to repair the road or simply close it altogether. As things are, the local conditions would make fixing the road a tricky task,' noted Batam Public Works Agency head Yusmanur.
The Batam BPBD recorded two similar incidents in the city, but no fatalities or significant material losses were incurred.
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