The Jakarta Post
More than 300 villages in the southern part of Central Java are prone to much-more frequently occurring landslides during rainy seasons, disaster officials say.
The Banjarnegara Disaster Mitigation Agency (BPBD) reported that the landslide-prone villages are located in 62 districts and four regencies, namely Banjarnegara, Banyumas, Cilacap and Kebumen, in which Banjarnegara is the most endangered area as geographically around 70 percent of it is mountainous.
According to BPBD Banjarnegara official data, rainfall during the past week has triggered landslides in Banjarnegara and Banyumas. Landslides in Banjarnegara occurred in 25 places, making it as the regency with highest number in the province.
BPBD Banjarnegara executive chairman Catur Subandrio said the 25 landslides occurred in eight villages and six districts from Dec. 4 to 5.
'From reports we have received from districts, the landslides damaged 20 houses and we have evacuated more than 20 people from eight families to temporary shelters,' said Catur on Monday.
The landslides occurred in Madukara and Pagentan districts, he said, adding that the natural events had blocked a number of roads in the districts.
There were no fatalities during the incidents, which had nevertheless caused more than Rp 300 million (US$24,294.45) in damages.
The worst recorded landslide incident occurred in Sijeruk village in Banjarmangu district in January 2006.
The landslide, which was popularly known as the 'Sijeruk tragedy', buried 240 Sijeruk residents together with their houses.
According to the Banjarnegara administration data, landslide incidents have continued to increase since 2006, partly because of an increase in illegal logging. Banjarnegara recorded more than 200 landslides in 2010, up from 126 in 2009, 76 in 2008 and 57 in 2007. This year there will be likely more landslide incidents occurring in the regency. (ebf)(+++)