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At least 18 people dead, two missing after landslides strike Sulawesi island in Indonesia

Rescuers in Indonesia are engaged in a search effort after deadly landslides hit villages on the island of Sulawesi

Deutsche Welle Published 15.04.24, 04:49 PM
The emergency response has been complicated by poor weather conditions

The emergency response has been complicated by poor weather conditions Deutsche Welle

At least 18 people have died and two more were missing after landslides struck South Sulawesi in Indonesia over the weekend.

The disaster hit two villages in the Tana Toraja region, authorities said.


What we know so far

Police chief Gunardi Mundu said torrential rain had loosened mud on surrounding hills, engulfing four homes in Makele village on Saturday night.

Mundu said that a family gathering was taking place in one of the houses when the landslide happened.

Soldiers, police and volunteers took part in the search in both Makale and South Makale, and were able to pull out two people, including an 8-year-old girl.

"We are still looking for two more victims, but fog and drizzle made the search difficult and officers in the field were overwhelmed," said Sulaiman Malia, chief of the Tana Toraja district Disaster Management Agency.

Damage to roads has made it difficult for teams in vehicles, including ambulances to evacuate victims.

Images from the affected villages showed rescuers picking through rubble to locate survivors from homes that had been completely flattened by the mud.

How common are landslides in Indonesia?

There are frequent floods and landslides in Indonesia, where many people live in flood plains or vulnerable mountain areas.

Last month, floods and landslides on Indonesia's Sumatra island killed at least 26 people, destroying hundreds of homes, and leaving thousands displaced.

February floods in the Indonesian capital, Jakarta, forced the relocation of some polling stations in a national presidential election.

The mountainous Tana Toraja region is in the center of Sulawesi about about 300 kilometers (186 miles) from the provincial capital, Makassar.

It is home to some popular tourist attractions, including wooden statues of bodies buried in caves, known as tau-tau.

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