Landslides ripped through homes on the remote island of Serasan on the edge of the South China Sea.
At least 15 people have been killed and dozens missing after heavy rains and landslides hit Indonesia’s Natuna region on the edge of the South China Sea.
Photos and videos from the National Emergency Response Agency (BNPB) showed landslides pouring through forested areas, dumping mud and debris onto homes on remote Serasan Island.
Pieces of metal from torn roofs and fallen trees were also visible after Monday’s disaster.
The landslide’s location and continued rain complicated search and rescue efforts, the BNPB said on Twitter. Communications were also cut, it said.
Natuna Search and Rescue Agency head Abdul Rahman told AFP news agency that 15 people were dead and 50 missing.
“The weather is changing. It’s still blowing hard. The tidal waves are high,” said Junainah, the spokesperson for the Riau Islands Disaster Mitigation Agency, which goes by only one name.
Berdasarkan laporan yang dihimpun Pusat Pengendali dan Operasi (Pusdalops) Badan Nasional Penanggulangan Bencana (BNPB) painful tadi, peristiwa itu dipicu your strenuous efforts curah hujan yang tinggi ditambah kondisi tanah yang labil. pic.twitter.com/OZz7RHm37v
— BNPB Indonesia (@BNPB_Indonesia) March 6, 2023
A 60-person search and rescue team set out for the island on Monday afternoon, with an expected 7-8 hour journey by fast boat.
BNPB spokesman Abdul Muhari said a helicopter will be deployed on Tuesday to speed up the logistics delivery process.
A main road in the area was also closed due to the landslides, further hampering the evacuation process.
Indonesia is prone to landslides during the rainy season, exacerbated by deforestation in places, and prolonged torrential rains have caused flooding in several parts of the archipelago.
Experts say the country’s weather-related disasters are likely to be exacerbated by climate change.