61 killed, 36 missing in landslides in Indonesia's Java

Updated: 2007-12-26 16:53

JAKARTA - At least 61 people were killed and 36 others went missing after rain-triggered landslides hit Tawangmangu district at Karanganyar regency of Central Java province on Wednesday, disaster management agency said.

An official of the agency at the field Anggit M.S. told Xinhua that rescuers, comprising soldiers, police and personnel from the national rescue agency, were searching those missing under the buried houses.

He said scores of houses and infrastructures were destroyed and buried by the soil at eight spots, when the landslides occurred early morning.

"Sixty-one people are dead and thirty-six other are missing," he told Xinhua on telephone from the district.

Torrential rain and lack of forest coverage were blamed for the accidents, said the official.

"Two consecutive days of heavy rain was the cause of the landslides," he said.

Indonesia has been frequently hit by flood and landslide due to lack of forest-covered areas, which could not hold excessive waters during heavy rains.

Activists have already warned that the forests in the area are under threat from large-scale forest destruction.

Indonesia, which is losing its forests at the world's fastest rate, is struggling to save its rain-forest from deforestation.

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