April 20, 2006

Floods, landslide kill 15 in Indonesian town

JAKARTA (Reuters) - At least 15 people were killed on
Thursday when a landslide and floods triggered by weeks of
torrential rain swept through a town on Indonesia's Java
island, a government official said.

At least 13 died when a torrent of mud buried homes in the
East Java town of Trenggalek, nearly 600 km (375 miles) east of
Jakarta, the town's regent, Soeharto, told Reuters.

Another two people were swept away by floodwaters.

"The flood happened after two weeks of successively heavy
rain. Water levels reached 5 meters (16.5 feet) high," Soeharto

Residents have been asked to evacuate because of fears of
more flooding.

Soeharto blamed deforestation for the landslide.

Floods and landslides are common in Indonesia, especially
at this time of the year during the wet season. Many landslides
are caused by illegal logging or the clearing of farmland that
strips away natural barriers to such disasters.

But logging has come under the spotlight around the East
Java villages. Landslides killed at least 130 people on Java
island in January.