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INDONESIA: Landslide kills 15, dozens feared missing

AT least 15 people were killed and dozens are feared missing after torrential rains and landslides battered one of Indonesia’s outermost islands bordering the South China Sea, disaster officials said Monday.

Pictures provided by the national disaster mitigation agency (BNPB) showed mud and debris from the landslides had inundated houses near a cliff on the remote Serasan island.

Bits of metal tore off roofs and fallen trees were visible.

The remoteness of the village where the landslide struck in the Natuna region of Riau province, combined with poor weather and downed communication lines, complicated rescue efforts, according to officials.

“We’ve been updated that 50 people were missing, 15 dead people were evacuated,” Natuna Search and Rescue Agency’s head Abdul Rahman told AFP, revising an earlier toll.

Riau Islands Disaster Mitigation Agency’s spokesperson Junainah added that with the communication network in the affected area — between Borneo island and peninsular Malaysia — cut off, it was hard to get the latest information.

“The weather is unpredictable. The wind is strong and the waves are currently high,” said the official, who like many Indonesians goes by one name.

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