Torrential rain in Berastagi around Mt. Sinabung led to tragedy on Saturday after the buildup of surface water triggered a landslide that killed nine people as authorities continued to patrol villages around the North Sumatra volcano over the weekend.
“Nine people were found dead,” Sutopo Purwo Nugroho, spokesman of National Disaster Mitigation Agency told the Jakarta Globe on Sunday. “Two were found in Gundaling I village, six people were found in Gundaling II village, while one person was found in Simpang Ujungaji village.”
Rainfall in the hills around Berastagi began on Saturday afternoon and continued into the evening. The first land slip occurred at around 7 p.m. in Gundaling village and Laununggap.
Leni Wulandari, 22, and her two-year-old son were found dead by first responders in their house, which had been buried by the land slip. It is understood that Leni’s husband was working in Malaysia at the time and was not at home.
In Gundaling II village, authorities identified the victims as Maruli Sijabat, 65; Siti Boru Nababan, 60; Marolop, 20; Litna Boru Silaban, 25; Bela Kasih Boru Manik, 4 and Junaidi Donggol Manik, 2.
The body of Rosalina Siboru, 10, who was a resident of Laununggap villager, was recovered in Simpang Ujungaji.
Sutopo urged everyone living in landslide-prone areas to be especially vigilant over the coming months as the rainy season increases the risk of destabilizing soil layers. Earthquakes and heavy rain are common causes of deadly landslides in the country.
“People who live in landslide-prone areas like in the hills, mountain slopes and river banks are urged to be alert. Generally landslides happen during heavy rain or after an earthquake,” he said.