The search and rescue operation was started at 7:30 a.m. local time by focusing on a settlement area, house of worship, and volleyball court, Bandung's Search and Rescue (SAR) Agency Head, Deden Ridwansyah, revealed.
The number of those reportedly still missing as a result of the landslides increased, from 23 to 24, after the Sawah Dadap Public Health Center received a report of one other missing resident on Tuesday, he stated.
The latest resident, identified as Siti Maemunah, reportedly went missing in the aftermath of the landslides following torrential downpour, Ridwansyah remarked.
The search and rescue efforts of rescuers were often hindered by unstable weather and torrential rains that potentially trigger another landslide, he remarked.
As of Tuesday, 16 died in the landslides in Sumedang District, but the final death toll is subject to change since the rest of the missing people had yet to be found.
Ridwansyah had earlier stated that two backhoes and several other SAR equipment were deployed for the SAR operation.
Some 1,108 people are involved in the SAR mission to locate victims of the landslides that occurred at around 3:30 p.m. local time and at around 7 p.m. local time following torrential downpour on January 9, 2021.
Various areas in West Java Province are prone to natural disasters.
According to the province's Disaster Mitigation Agency (BPBD), at least 1,039 natural disasters were reported in various parts of West Java and affected 768,319 residents between January and August of 2020.
The agency's head, Dani Ramdan, had remarked in September 2020 that most catastrophes were hydrological disasters, such as flooding and landslides.
Of the hydrological disasters, 521 were landslides, he noted, adding that the BPBD officials had undertaken prevention and mitigation efforts by implementing all requisite measures mandated in the government's health protocols.
Health protocols were readied in areas, such as the northern coast of West Java, Bekasi, Subang, Karawang, Tasikmalaya, and Bandung, which are prone to hydrological disasters, to contain the spread of COVID-19, Ramdan stated.
Health protocols were, for instance, enforced when the agency's officials assisted residents acutely impacted by flooding in the southern areas of Bandung in April 2020, he pointed out.
In addition to hydrological disasters, West Java is prone to earthquakes. On August 24, 2020, for instance, a 5.2-magnitude earthquake had rocked Pangandaran District.
Epicenter of the quake, striking at 00:38 a.m. local time, was located some 231 kilometers southwest of Pangandaran, at a depth of 10 kilometers, according to the Meteorology, Climatology, and Geophysics Agency (BMKG).
Related news: Sumedang landslide death toll reaches 16: SAR agency
Related news: SAR office confirms 27 still missing in Sumedang landslides
EDITED BY INE