Death toll rises to 47 in Indonesian landslides, floods

The death toll rose to 47 from landslides and floods in parts of Central Java in Indonesia over the weekend, officials said Monday.

In the worst-hit district of Purwerejo, at least 27 people were killed, and 18 were still missing, said Desi Armita, an official at the local disaster management agency.

Rescuers dug through thick mud using excavators to look for the missing, he said.  

The landslides and flooding followed days of heavy rain.

The National Disaster Management Agency said 41 million Indonesians live in areas prone to landslides with little protection.

Agency spokesman Sutopo Nugroho warned that the La Nina weather phenomenon could could trigger more rainfall, floods and landslides in the coming months. 

"It is predicted that the number of victims from hydrometeorological disasters will increase," he said. 

A United Nations report released in March warned that La Nina could hurt food security in Indonesia for the whole year and possibly longer.

"While Indonesia has strong capacity and expertise for responding to rapid-onset emergencies, it is far more challenging to respond to slow-onset emergencies," said the United Nations-sponsored report.

The situation should be closely monitored for any humanitarian needs, including a "longer-term rise in poverty levels," it said.

Last update: Mon, 20/06/2016 - 12:44

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