Rescue Team Waiting for Help in Search of Natuna Landslide Victims
The rescue team in Serasan District, Natuna Regency, Tuesday (7/3), was looking for signs of life after a landslide that killed at least 15 people. They did so while waiting for equipment and reinforcements to step up efforts to find the 42 people who are still listed as missing, the National Disaster Mitigation Agency (BNPB) said.
Acting Head of the BNPB Disaster Data, Information and Communication Center, Abdul Muhari said the length of the landslide was estimated to be 100-200 meters and that only 42 people were involved in the rescue mission which was complicated by the remote location.
Heavy equipment such as excavators had yet to arrive, he said, while those assisting in the rescue operation had to travel by boat, motor vehicle and then on foot.
The SAR team examines the damage caused by a landslide in the Natuna islands, March 7, 2023. (Handout / Kemenkominfo Natuna / AFP)
“The number of fatalities can change at any time. Of the 15 fatalities, 10 bodies have been found,” Abdul said by telephone. He also said that 1,216 residents had been moved to temporary shelters at mosques and health centers.
A video seen by Reuters showed rescue workers wearing helmets working with flashlights in the dark to try to free some of the victims. The video also shows destroyed houses and streets covered in mud.
Two helicopters will be dispatched from the capital Jakarta on Tuesday to help with rescue efforts, as well as a plane carrying tents, food and blankets for the evacuees, Abdul said.
SAR head Natuna told Antara News Agency that the military would be deployed to assist the rescue effort and some equipment had been sent, including extraction kits and lighting equipment. [ab/uh]