Scores feared dead in Indonesia landslide

JAKARTA: Five people were killed and more than 30 remain

missing after a landslide buried part of a tea plantation in Indonesia today, an official said.

The landslide struck after heavy rains in flood-ravaged Bandung district south of the capital Jakarta, he said. “Five bodies have been pulled out. Thirty-five people are still missing. About 35 houses were buried so deep even the rooftops weren’t visible,” Jakarta search and rescue head Budiawan told AFP.

More than 300 search and rescue personnel with heavy equipment were rushing to the area, near Ciwidey village about 35 km southwest of Bandung city.

“We’ll work through the night to try to rescue as many people as possible,” he added.

He said the landslide struck around 8:00 am (0100 GMT). Bandung health ministry official Ahmad Kustiadi earlier told ElShinta radio station that 72 people were still missing beneath the earth, which crushed an office, processing plant and workers’ housing belonging to the plantation. “Five people have been found dead

and 72 are missing, 47

in the field, 15 in the

office and 10 at the factory,” he said. Disaster Management Agency spokesman Priyadi Kardono said however that about 40 people were missing.

“It had been raining very heavily since yesterday and that probably caused the landslide,” he told AFP.

“We believe the landslide area could be the size of two football fields. The tea processing plant and 50 houses were also buried.” He said roads to the area had been cut, hampering efforts to bring in heavy earth-moving equipment.

“We’re facing problems trying to reach them,”

he added. The plantation was owned by a company called PT Dewata, which could not be reached for comment.

Landslides usually triggered by heavy rain are a major killer in Indonesia, which is currently being lashed by monsoonal downpours and widespread flooding.

Thousands of people have been forced out of their homes by flooding in Bandung and Jakarta over the past two weeks.