Landslide in Indonesia's Natuna region kills at least 11; dozens missing

This handout photo taken and released on March 6, 2023, by the BNPB (National Disaster Management Agency) shows people inspecting the damage at a village that was hit by landslides in Natuna in Indonesia's Riau Province. Photo: Handout/BNPB/AFP

Jakarta: A landslide caused by torrential rain killed at least 11 people and left dozens of others missing on an island in Indonesia's remote Natuna regency on Monday, disaster officials said.

Tons of mud fell from surrounding hills onto houses in Serasan village in Natuna. Rescuers recovered at least 11 bodies and authorities fear that the death toll will rise, National Disaster Mitigation Agency spokesperson Abdul Muhari said.

Many people who need help have not been reached because we still have difficulty accessing the affected areas, Muhari said, adding that authorities estimated that about 50 people were still missing.

Dozens of soldiers, police and volunteers joined the search in the village, on a remote island surrounded by choppy waters and high waves in the Natuna group at the edge of the South China Sea, said Junainah, who heads emergency relief operations at the local disaster agency.

Downed communications lines and bad weather were hampering the rescue efforts, said Junainah, who uses only one name.

Seasonal downpours cause frequent landslides and floods in Indonesia, a chain of 17,000 islands where millions of people live in mountainous areas or in fertile flood plains. 

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