Landslide kills 9 people in western Indonesia
KARO, Indonesia (AP) — Landslides triggered by torrential rain buried houses near a rumbling volcano in western Indonesia and searchers found nine bodies in the mud and water, a disaster official said Sunday. Four of the dead were children.
Several houses were buried when mud gushed down the surrounding hills late Saturday into Gundaling village, about 12 kilometers (7.4 miles) east of Mount Sinabung volcano in North Sumatra province.
He said the bodies of a mother and her 2-year-old son were retrieved from a mound of mud just before midnight Saturday. Six victims were found early Sunday, including two children, followed by the body of a 10-year-old boy drifting in a river.
Authorities struggled to get tractors and bulldozers over washed-out roads hours after the landslides.
Hundreds of police, soldiers and residents were digging through the debris with their bare hands, shovels and hoes near a temporary shelter that houses hundreds of villagers who evacuated from the perimeter of the volcano.
Mount Sinabung has sporadically erupted since September, and its alert status was raised to the highest level last week. Recent eruptions have been smaller, but villagers are waiting until it’s safer to return home.
Seasonal downpours cause dozens of landslides and flash floods each year in Indonesia, a vast chain of 17,000 islands where millions of people live in mountainous areas or fertile flood plains.