Fri, 17 Nov 2000

Mudflow in Bandung regency's Kampung Tonjong kills four

BANDUNG (JP): Four locals were killed as a mudflow hit remote Kampung Tonjong village in Arjasari, Bandung regency on Tuesday night, a witnesses said on Thursday.

The fatalities, identified as Siti Maryam, 30, her 14-year-old daughter Nurlela and a local named Atja, 50, were found on Wednesday floating at the edge of the Citaluktuk river about three kilometers away from the site of the mudflow.

Later information confirmed that Maryam's three-year-old daughter was also killed by the mudflow.

Dini Cucu Cahyani's body was found on Thursday morning about 10 kilometers from the village.

Two days of torrential rains caused the landslide that swept away nine houses in Tonjong village at the foot of Malabar mountain.

An eyewitness, named Yuyu, told The Jakarta Post how the mudflow had thundered down the Cikadu river towards Kampung Tonjong, forcing Yuyu to flee and alert the neighbors.

"I was standing in my rice field at the foot of the Malabar mountain when I saw the walls of mud rolling down the Cikadu river and split into two directions, one of which headed straight toward Kampung Tonjong.

"I went straight home and warned the other villagers and I ran to save my parents," Yuyu recalled.

The warning, however, went unnoticed by Yuyu's neighbor, Ade Tarsa, who lost his wife and two children, only managing to save his four younger siblings.

The mudflow also severely damaged at least 26 houses below the mountain, namely in Kampung Muara, Bojong Pulus, Cileutik and Pengkolan Banjaran Wetan village in Banjaran district.

At least 208 houses in the area were also flooded.

The flood eventually died down on Wednesday, but as of Thursday afternoon local residents were still clearing the area and digging out walls of mud engulfing their villages.

"We did not expect that the flood would arrive as mud instead of water.

"Usually, overflow from the Citarum river causes flooding and submerges houses in the area every year," Banjaran district chief Bambang Budi Rahardjo said. (25/edt)