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Jakarta Post

More bodies retrieved from site of landslides in Sukabumi

  • Ivany Atina Arbi

    The Jakarta Post

Jakarta   /   Sun, January 6, 2019   /   06:16 pm
More bodies retrieved from site of landslides in Sukabumi Grim task: People flee their homes as rescue workers search for survivors at the site of a landslide in Sukabumi, West Java, on Tuesday. The landslide, which was triggered by heavy rain, left at least nine people dead and dozens missing. (AFP/-)

Thirty-one bodies have been retrieved from the site of a landslide in Sirnaresmi village, Sukabumi regency in West Java seven days after the disaster hit the area last Monday at around 5 p.m., authorities have reported.

Of the 100 people affected by the landslide, 64 people had been deemed safe, 31 people died and three others sustained mild to severe injuries. Meanwhile, two people were still missing as of Monday morning.

“The search and rescue team [SAR] is intensifying its efforts today to find the missing persons,” National Disaster Mitigation Agency (BNPB) spokesperson Sutopo Purwo Nugroho said in a statement on Sunday.

The rescue team comprises personnel from, among others, the Indonesian Military (TNI), the National Police, regional disaster mitigation agencies (BPBD) and the Indonesian Red Cross (PMI).

“The sunny weather has helped the search,” Sutopo added.

According to the agency’s data, 132 landslides had struck Sukabumi in the past decade--most of which had resulted in casualties and residential damage.

A landslide occurred on March 28 in 2015, for example, affecting 293 people, while damaging 11 houses. Twelve of the affected residents passed away in the calamity.

The Meteorology, Climatology and Geophysics Agency (BMKG) said the peak of the rainy season will be from January to February, which will increase the risk of disasters in lanslide-prone points in Central Java province and several cities in West Java: Bandung, Sumedang, Cianjur, Bogor and Sukabumi.

Therefore, residents living in the mountainous area are asked to stay alert.

Read also: Floods, landslides to dominate 2019 amid continuing environmental damage

The BNPB stated that hydrometeorological hazards such as landslides, floods and tropical cyclones would dominate this year’s disasters as the result of environmental damage.

According to the agency’s records, 14.1 million hectares of the watershed has been damaged, which would trigger flooding due to rapid surface changes, including in mountainous areas that were turning into residential areas.

BNPB head Willem Rampangilei said earlier that despite the large amount of resources needed to secure legislative and presidential elections in April, Willem ensured that the disaster mitigation agency was prepared to minimize the impact of any natural events, particularly during key dates.