At least 17 people are feared to have been buried during a landslide in a village in Indonesia’s East Java province, according to country’s National Disaster Management Authority (BNPB).
Residents were harvesting ginger on a hillside in Ponorogo district on Saturday when the landslide hit after heavy rain the night before, a spokesman for the BNPB said.
A rescue operation involving soldiers, police and volunteers was under way.
Residents were warned about the threat of the landside and evacuated on Friday, but some returned for work on Saturday.
The BNPB said up to 30 houses were affected by the landslide and an estimated 17 people remained missing. The agency noted that the number may change as authorities evaluated how many people were present during the disaster.
“There are conflicting reports about the number of people missing, but based on the data from the field we are searching for 17 people,” BNPB spokesman Sutopo Purno Nugroho told AFP news agency.
Landslides caused by heavy rains and floods are common in tropical Indonesia during the rainy season.
Nearly 30 people died in September in devastating floods and landslides in Garut, West Java.
In 2014, at least 90 people were killed when a landslide hit a village in Central Java, according to the UN humanitarian agency.
BNPB estimates about half the country’s population of 256 million people lives in areas prone to landslides.
Source: Al Jazeera and news agencies