(FreedomBeacon.com)- Heavy rains and landslides have caused at least 15 deaths and left scores more missing in Indonesia’s Natuna province, which borders the South China Sea.
More than 1,200 people were forced from their homes and moved to evacuation centers and other shelters due to the landslides. Authorities fear the death toll will climb, and rightly so.
The national disaster mitigation agency (BNPB) released images and video of landslides tearing through forests and depositing mud and debris on homes on the outlying island of Serasan.
On Monday, debris from the tragedy included metal shards from ripped-off roofs and branches from fallen trees.
The BNPB tweeted that the location of the landslide and the ongoing rain made rescue attempts more difficult. It further said that all forms of communication were down.
Abdul Rahman, the director of the Natuna Search and Rescue Agency, told the AFP news agency that 15 people had been verified deceased and 50 were still missing.
The climate is shifting, and the weekend is not looking good. The gusts of wind have not subsided. One Junainah, who works for the Riau Islands Disaster Mitigation Agency, has warned of dangerously high tides.
On Monday afternoon, a 60-person search and rescue team set off for the island; the trip there would take 7 to 8 hours by speed boat.
A helicopter will be used on Tuesday, according to BNPB spokesman Abdul Muhari.
Landslides also blocked down a primary route, making it more difficult for people to leave the region.
In certain parts, deforestation has made Indonesia more prone to landslides during the rainy season, and persistent heavy rain has led to floods throughout the archipelago country.
Indonesia is a network of 17,000 islands where millions of people live in hilly places or rich flood plains adjacent to rivers; in recent days, seasonal rains and high tides have triggered dozens of landslides and severe flooding over much of Indonesia.
A landslide caused by an earthquake of 5.6 magnitudes in Cianjur, West Java, in 2022 killed at least 335 people, almost a third of them were children.