Saturday 21 December 2013

Landslide kills four in Central Java.

Four people have been killed and three injured after a landslide struck a house in Kali Gending Village in Kebumen District in Central Java on Friday 20 December 2013. The dead have been named as Rusmiyati (50), Lastri (30), Sofa (5) and Pamungkas (8 months). The incident comes after several days of heavy rains that have caused flooding that has claimed at least four lives in Central Java, and killed one person in a landslide in Bandung Province, West Java on the previous day. Landslides are a common problem after severe weather events, as excess pore water pressure can overcome cohesion in soil and sediments, allowing them to flow like liquids. Approximately 90% of all landslides are caused by heavy rainfall. 

The approximate location of the 20 December 2013 Kali Gending landslide. Google Maps.

Central Java typically received around 2000 mm of rain per year, with a rainy season that lasts from November to May and peaks in January. Landslides are not an uncommon event here, particurly during the height of the rainy season, however Wahyudi Jafar, a researcher with the Institute for Policy Research and Advocacy (Elsam), an Indonesian NGO, has recently raised concerns that poor land management in the area, and in particular the granting of mining rights to large companies which clear hillslopes, making them more vulnerable to landslides, has worsened the situation.

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