Monday 25 March 2013

At least six killed by West Java landslide.

Six people are known to have been killed following a landslide in West Java according to the Badan Nasional Penangulanggan Bencana (Indonesia's Disaster Mitigation Agency), with another eleven still missing. Another two people have reportedly been seriously injured. The occured around 5.30 am on 25 March 2013 local time (10.30 pm on 24 March, GMT )in Cililin Subdistrict following heavy rains, destroying a number of houses in Mukapayung Village. Rescue efforts are being coordinated by the Badan Nasional Penangulanggan Bencana, with help from the Police, Indonesian Red Cross and local volunteers, who are sorting through debris by hand. There have been a number of other landslides in the area, some of which may also have led to casualties.

 Villagers in Makapayung after the 25 March 2013 landslide. Associated Press.

Indonesia is prone to flash floods during the monsoon season, and in recent years has suffered from a growing number of landlides, which has been linked to deforestation on mountainsides. Indonesia has a rapidly growing population, with 138 million people living on Java (which has an area of 128 000 km2, roughly the same as England or North Carolina) alone. This, combined with a rapid expansion in comercial farming for export crops, has lead to widespread deforestation, making slopes vulnerable to landslides, as soils become waterlogged without the extensive treecover to keep them in place. 

Presure for agricultural land has led to increasing use of steeper slopes. Indonesia Tourism.

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