The Jakarta Post
Approximately 112 families have fled their homes since land began shifting in Kertaangsana village, Nyalindung district, Sukabumi, West Java.
Land shifts in the village began in February and intensified on April 23, according to the Center for Volcanology and Geological Hazard Mitigation (PVMBG). People started complaining about the land movement when a landslide occurred on April 22 after heavy rain hit the area, damaging houses and roads.
Kertaangsana village head Agus Sudrajat said the number of evacuees had increased.
He said some had taken refuge in a building formerly used as a traditional market after living in tents provided by the Sukabumi Disaster Mitigation Agency (BPBD Sukabumi) for days.
"Some others decided to take refuge in their families' houses or rent houses in other villages," Agus said on Wednesday as reported by kompas.com.
BPBD Sukabumi recorded that the land movement had affected 129 houses, home to 161 families, as of Sunday.
Ninety houses had been damaged, along with three public facilities and a 200-meter section of a provincial road.
Land fractures, cracks and collapses caused by the shifting also put 26 hectares of agricultural land at risk.
"There is still potential for land movement to continue in Nyalindung, especially during the rainy season," PVMBG earth researcher Anjar Heriwaseso told The Jakarta Post on Thursday.
Aside from heavy rain, Anjar said the land shifts were also caused by other factors.
He said several geological conditions made the area prone to land shifts, which were made worse with a poor drainage system, the destruction of steep hills to make way for residential areas and provincial roads and busy traffic on the provincial roads.
"Such complex geological conditions could also be seen at other parts of Sukabumi, making them prone to land shifts," Anjar said.
He added that over the last four years, land shifts had also occurred in several districts in Sukabumi, such as in Cibadak, Cisolok, Warungkiara, Cikidang, Kabandungan, Cikakakh, Curugkembar and Jampangkulon.
"There should be structural mitigation efforts, otherwise land shifts can potentially expand to other areas," Anjar said.
He mentioned several efforts, such as building retaining walls and improving the drainage system and terraced slopes but none have stopped the phenomenon.
Anjar claimed that the PVMBG had released maps designed to show the potential of land shifts in every regency in Java as well as in other provinces every month. He said the maps were also provided to the National Disaster Mitigation Agency (BNPB) and BPBD for early warning purposes.
BPBD Sukabumi chief Asep Suherman said areas experiencing land shifts could potentially be categorized as red zones, meaning they were uninhabitable.
However, he said that the BPBD would wait for the results of PVMBG's study before deciding on the location and scale of the red zone.
"Relocation will most likely occur. However, we will decide after the 45-day recovery period," he told kompas.com. (ars)