Indonesia: Landslides kill 18 on Sulawesi island

Indonesian search and rescue teams found 18 people dead and conducted searches for two more who were reported missing on Monday after a landslide in South Sulawesi over the weekend.

The disaster, which hit two villages in the Tana Toraja region, was triggered by intense rain.

What we know so far

Police chief Gunardi Mundu said that mud on surrounding hills had been loosened by torrential rain, and engulfed four homes in Makele village on Saturday night.

Mundu said that a family gathering was taking place in one of the houses when the landslide happened.

Soldiers, police and volunteers took part in the search in both Makale and South Makale, and were able to pull out two people, including an 8-year-old girl.

“We are still looking for two more victims, but fog and drizzle made the search difficult and officers in the field were overwhelmed,” said Sulaiman Malia, chief of the Tana Toraja district Disaster Management Agency.

Damage to roads has made it difficult for teams in vehicles, including ambulances to evacuate victims.

Images from the affected villages showed rescuers picking through rubble to locate survivors from homes that had been completely flattened by the mud.

How common are landslides in Indonesia?

There are frequent floods and landslides in Indonesia, where many people live in flood plains or vulnerable mountain areas.

Last month, floods and landslides on Indonesia’s Sumatra island killed at least 26 people, destroying hundreds of homes, and leaving thousands displaced.

Indonesia: Floods displace over 20,000, hamper polling

February floods in the Indonesian capital, Jakarta, forced the relocation of some polling stations in a national presidential election.

The mountainous Tana Toraja region is in the center of Sulawesi about about 300 kilometers (186 miles) from the provincial capital, Makassar.

It is home to some popular tourist attractions, including wooden statues of bodies buried in caves, known as tau-tau.

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