40.9 million people are at risk of landslides:Agency

Some 40.9 million people are at risk, which includes 4.28 million children, 323,000 persons with disabilities and 3.2 million elderly.
Jakarta (ANTARA News) - As many as 40.9 million people, which is 17.2 percent of the population of Indonesia, are in danger of landslides, a spokesman for the National Disaster Mitigation Agency (BNPB), Sutopo Purwo Nugroho, said.

"Some 40.9 million people are at risk, which includes 4.28 million children, 323,000 persons with disabilities and 3.2 million elderly," Nugroho stated here on Monday.

Many areas in West Java, Central Java and East Java were vulnerable to landslides throughout 2014.

"This is because the population in those regions increased," he added.

Nugroho called on residents to remain vigilant because landslides might occur till the beginning of next year.

"Judging from the landslides that occurred from 2005 to 2014, the peak season for the disaster is between January and February as it follows the pattern of rainfall," he explained.

He urged people living in areas prone to landslides to seek safe places to reside. In addition, they should also implement soil and water conservation measures in those areas.

"Lack of soil and water conservation measures leads to landslides eventually," he warned.

The spokesman believes that it is not possible to force 40.9 million people to move to a safe place together. Therefore, he added, the government should implement a correct layout to minimize the impacts of the disaster.

According to Nugroho, the disaster had not been a priority of medium-term development, which is why the budget for its mitigation was insufficient.

"Ideally, budget for disaster management needs to be as much as 1 percent of the state or local budget," he remarked.

He revealed that funds for the BNPB in 2014 reached Rp2.5 trillion, besides the cash (on call) amounting to Rp1.5 trillion.

"However, Rp15 trillion is required to provide rapid disaster relief throughout Indonesia," he added.

Earlier, six hundred Central Java Police personnel were deployed to search for landslide victims in Jemblung hamlet, Sampang village, Karangkobar sub-district, Banjarnegara, Central Java.

"Some 600 members of the Central Java Police, including personnel from the Wonosobo Police, Banjarnegara Police, and Banyumas Police, have been deployed," National Police spokesman Insp. Gen. Ronny F Sompie said here on Monday.

According to the Head of Police Security Inspector General Putut Eko Bayuseno, the National Police deployed 13 handlers, supporting staff, and search dogs.

They have been deployed to assist members of the Central Java Police to trace missing victims.

The Police Headquarters has also fielded four sniffer dogs along with their handlers.

Furthermore, a Disaster Victim Identification (DVI) team led by the Central Java Police has been in the landslide-affected areas since Friday (December 12) to identify victims.

Sompie revealed that 31 bodies of victims had been identified so far.

"The bodies of 31 victims have been identified," he affirmed.(*)