Landslide in East Luwu claims seven lives

Jakarta (ANTARA News) - A landslide triggered by downpour, on Friday morning, killed seven people and seriously injured seven others in the Harapan Makmur I Village, East Luwu District, South Sulawesi, according to the National Disaster Mitigation Agency (BNPB).

A total of 14 houses were buried by the landslide, Sutopo Purwo Nugroho, chairman of the BNPB, said in a press statement.

Rocks and mud due to the disaster also blocked the Trans Sulawesi-Tarengge Malili road.

The count of victims might increase since the evacuation process is still ongoing, and more landslides are occurring.

The BNPB has sent several personnel of the swift response team to help the local rescuers.

To facilitate the emergency operation, 200 police officers, three excavators, and two backhoe loaders have been deployed in the landslide-affected area.

The agency has warned the residents of East Luwu to remain vigilant, as high-intensity rains are forecast to occur in May this year.

Millions of Indonesians are exposed to possible landslides across the country, particularly during the rainy season.

Ninety-two percent of the natural disasters that hit Indonesia during last year were hydro-meteorological in nature - floods, landslides, and whirlwinds.

The country was stricken by 766 floods (up 52 percent from 2015), 612 landslides (up 19 percent), and 669 whirlwinds (up 15 percent).

Flooding claimed 147 lives and affected 2.72 million people. Landslides killed 188 people, an increase from 135 in 2015.

In total, Indonesia was battered by 2,342 natural disasters in 2016, the highest in the past 14 years, making it one of the most violent years in recent memory.

This was a 35 percent increase on the 1,732 natural disaster recorded in 2015.

As many as 522 people were killed, and some three million others were affected or displaced in the disasters, which also damaged at least 70 thousand houses. The nation lost tens of trillions of rupiahs due to the catastrophes.(*)