Landslide in Indonesia kills three, misses more
Two children are among three people confirmed to have been killed in a landslide at a Chinese-backed power plant on Indonesia’s Sumatra island, authorities said on Friday, fearing the death toll could rise.
Heavy rains hit the northern Sumatra region on Thursday evening, triggering the deadly torrent.
“This morning we found three dead victims – an adult and two children,” said Toto Mulyono, head of the search and rescue agency in the city of Medan, capital of the province.
“We are still looking for nine more missing.
Among them, three staff working at the Batang Toru hydropower plant, including a Chinese national, feared being buried under a mountain of mud and debris.
According to Firman Taufick, a spokesman for plant operator PT North Sumatera Hydro Energy, employees were monitoring the area fearing heavy rains could trigger landslides in the event of a disaster.
Another Chinese employee narrowly escaped as he fled the scene, Taufick added.
“We are working with a rescue team from the army and the police who are currently roaming the area,” he said.
Fatal landslides and flash floods are common in the Indonesian archipelago during the rainy season.
This month, more than 200 people were killed in a cluster of islands in the Far East and neighboring East Timor when Tropical Cyclone Seroja turned small communities into wasteland of mud and uprooted trees.
Seroja, one of the most destructive storms to hit the region in years, has forced thousands of people to flee to shelters.
The Indonesian disaster agency estimated that 125 million Indonesians – nearly half of the country’s population – live in areas at risk of landslides.
Disasters are often caused by deforestation and poor planning of mitigation measures, environmentalists say.