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08 December 2023

Indonesia calls off deadly landslide search, 18 believed dead


The search for six people still missing after a deadly landslide in Indonesia has been called off, officials said Wednesday, bringing the presumed death toll to 18.

An avalanche of mud and rock cascaded down a steep slope in central Java last week, burying victims as they worked their rice fields.

Hundreds of rescuers, including members of the army, police and local community, have spent the past seven days digging through the debris to find victims buried in the deadly slide.

Twelve people are confirmed to have died while another six remain missing, officials said, adding that another 18 survived the disaster.

"The search operation is officially closed, but if there are further developments then we will return," said Zulhawary Agustianto, a spokesman for Indonesia's National Search and Rescue Agency.

The slip followed several days of heavy rain in the mountainous area, about seven hours east of the capital Jakarta.

Flooding triggered by the deluge also killed three people in the nearby district of Losari, authorities said.

Rescue agency spokesman Agustianto said heavy rain and small landslides had made the search dangerous.

Landslides are common in Indonesia, especially during wet season between October and April, when rain lashes the country.