UPDATE 6:13 p.m. EDT: Several more bodies were found among the mud and debris that came crashing down a mountainside on Indonesia’s Java island Friday, bringing the death toll to at least 19, Z News reported. Seventy-one people remained missing Saturday as the search was suspended because of rain. Officials said the rescue operation would resume Sunday.
At least eight people have died and nearly 100 are missing in Indonesia, after heavy rains caused a landslide late Friday, reports said. Officials said Saturday that more than a hundred houses were swept away in the landslide that hit the Banjarnegara district in central Java, about 280 miles from the capital, Jakarta.
About 38 people were brought to a nearby hospital by rescue officials, four of them in a serious condition, The Associated Press (AP) reported, adding that about 370 people were evacuated and taken to temporary shelters.
"Conditions on the ground are pretty tough and we need heavy machines to clear the road that has been covered by the landslide," said Sutopo Purwo Nugroho, a spokesperson for the national disaster agency, according to Agence France-Presse (AFP).
Another official reportedly said that about 200 officials and 500 volunteers were conducting rescue operations in the region.
According to the national disaster agency, about half of the 250 million population of the country, which is a chain of 17,000 islands, live in landslide-prone areas, AFP reported. The island country is prone to landslides and mudslides particularly during the monsoon season that usually runs from October until April.