Tue, 31 Oct 2000

27 people die in four landslides in Banyumas

BANYUMAS, Central Java (JP): At least 27 people died in Banyumas regency in four separate landslides late on Sunday night following two days of incessant rain.

However, authorities are awaiting more information from Cimanggu district officials, which may see the death toll rise to 32.

Banyumas Police chief Sr. Supt. Carel Risa Kotta told The Jakarta Post via telephone on Monday evening that the landslides occurred in Sibalung village in Cimanggu district, Cipari village in Cipari district, Wanareja village in Wanareja district and Gancang village in Gumelar district.

"Today we have found 27 bodies from those villages .... We're still looking for more bodies," Carel said, adding that more could still be buried beneath the landslides.

All four villages are located on foothills, making them prone to landslides.

It is not the first time landslides have occurred in the area, however they have never been this severe.

According to Carel, 13 bodies have been dug up in Sibalung village, five in Cipari village, three in Wanareja village and six in Gancang village.

He said 15 officers from the National Police's Mobile Brigade and members of the local search and rescue team had been dispatched to Cimanggu district, which has been the most severely effected area.

According to information from administration officials in Cimanggu district late on Monday night, another landslide has hit the area.

Awaluddin confirmed 13 people were missing in Sibalung village and another five were unaccounted for following a landslide in Bantarpanjang village.

However, he said "none of the bodies have been found".

Awaluddin told the Post the landslides also caused severe material damage.

He noted that several other landslides occurred in various locations but did not result in the loss of life.

He said at least 15 houses in Gancang village and six in Gumelar village had been damaged.

A landslide in Cibangkong village, Pekuncen district, caused damage to six houses, but there were no fatalities.

Another landslide occurred on the major artery of Jl. Raya Wanareja-Majenang, closing the Bandung-Purwokerto route from Sunday night to Monday afternoon.

At least 200 people from Mulyasari village, Majenang district, were evacuated from their homes. They lived adjacent to a 30- meter-high hill which is prone to landslides during the rainy season.(45)