Landslides kill 14 on Indonesia’s Sulawesi island

By Thomson Reuters Apr 14, 2024 | 5:29 AM

JAKARTA (Reuters) – At least 14 people have been killed in landslides on the Indonesian island of Sulawesi, the country’s disaster mitigation agency said on Sunday, with rescue efforts ongoing for those reported missing.

Landslides triggered by high-intensity rains affected two villages in the region of Tana Toraja, in South Sulawesi, killing 14 people and destroying four homes, Abdul Muhari, the spokesperson for the agency said in a statement.

Search and rescue efforts for missing residents are continuing, he said, without providing details about how many were unaccounted for. Local media has reported that at least two people are missing.

Photos of affected villages provided by the agency showed rescuers trawling through the rubble for survivors, with homes flattened and reduced to planks of wood and concrete.

Emergency response efforts have been complicated by poor weather conditions and damage to roads into the affected areas, making it difficult for vehicles, including ambulances to evacuate victims, the agency’s spokesperson said.

Located in the centre of Sulawesi island, the mountainous region of Tana Toraja is about 300 kilometres (186 miles) from the provincial capital, Makassar.

Floods and landslides killed at least 26 people on Indonesia’s Sumatra island last month, with torrential rains destroying hundreds of homes, and displacing thousands.

Indonesia’s rainy season began in January with the meteorological agency forecasting a first-quarter peak, particularly on the islands of Java and Sumatra.

(Reporting by Kate Lamb; Editing by Sharon Singleton)