Series of deadly landslides kills 20 victims

TANA TORAJA, INDONESIA – Local authorities have confirmed that a mother and her 3-year-old daughter, considered the final missing victims in recent landslides on Sulawesi Island, Indonesia, have been found dead. The landslides left 20 people dead overall.

Local rescue chief Mexianus Bekabel reported the discovery of the two bodies near each other. Heavy rain led to mudslides from surrounding hills, impacting four houses in Tana Toraja district’s South Makale village on Saturday, according to local police chief Gunardi Mundu. One impacted house was hosting a family gathering when the mudslide occurred.

The harsh weather conditions, marked by fog and rain, made the search operations challenging. A team made up of soldiers, police, and volunteers worked relentlessly in the remote Makale and South Makale hillside villages. On Sunday, rescuers managed to save two injured individuals, including an 8-year-old girl, who were promptly rushed to the hospital.

Tana Toraja district boasts a variety of tourist attractions, such as traditional houses and ‘tau-tau,’ wooden statues of bodies buried in caves. It frequently experiences seasonal rainfalls.

These downpours often cause landslides and floods, a common scenario across Indonesia, a vast archipelago consisting of 17,000 islands with numerous residents living in mountainous regions and fertile flood plains.