At least 17 were missing and feared buried by a landslide triggered by heavy rain on Indonesia's Java island on Saturday, the national disaster agency said. The missing people include villagers who were harvesting a crop of ginger.
National Disaster Management Agency spokesman Sutopo Purwo Nugroho said almost 30 homes in Banaran village of Ponorogo district in East Java were destroyed due to 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," Nugroho told AFP.
He added that the local disaster agency along with the military, police and volunteers were evacuating the area and looking for victims who could be buried in the debris. According to him, rescue efforts were also hampered by people flocking to the area to see the landslide and causing traffic jams.
The official said that the local disaster mitigation agency had warned of the risk of a landslide due to recent rain.
Landslides are frequent in the Indonesian countryside during the rainy season. Indonesia has been blamed for rapid deforestation and environmentalists have warned of serious consequences. Twelve people including three children died in a landslide on the holiday island of Bali last February. Meanwhile in September, almost thirty people were killed in devastating floods and landslides in Garut, West Java.