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Rescue for dozens missing persons underway after landslide, flood happened in Indonesia

(Xinhua)

17:22, December 01, 2011

JAKARTA, Dec. 1 (Xinhua) -- Rescuers have found 5 dead bodies and are battling to find about 30 victims buried underneath the soil after a landslide in North Sumatra on Wednesday, local official said on Thursday.

Two people were feared to die as they fell down to a river when the bridge collapsed by floods in Barize village of South Nias district in North Sumatra, said Arototona Mendepa official of disaster management and mitigation agency in the district.

Heavy rains had the soil of a hill at the village fallen down at 14:00 p.m. local time and waters at the river overflowed, collapsing the bridge and submerging scores of houses, while at the same time the landslide had buried 37 houses, he said.

"The villagers are attempting to find the missing persons, digging the soil with simple equipment. And the searching for the two persons fell down when the bridge collapsed is also under way.

The villagers saw the two person were swept away by strong current of the river. They could be dead," Mendepa told Xinhua over phone.

Nevertheless, the rescuers from search and rescue office still could not reach the scene as the bridge had been collapsed, he said.

"More than one hundred people have taken shelter at a church as their houses were inundated by the waters," said Mendepa.

Emergency relief aids had been on the way to the scene, he said.

Indonesia has been frequent hit by flood and landslide during the heavy rains, partly due to lacking of forest covered areas.

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