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. New Indonesia landslide as search for victims continues

by Staff Writers
Tawangmangu, Indonesia (AFP) Dec 30, 2007
A new landslide buried more than 30 homes on Indonesia's Java island Sunday as rescue workers continued searching for victims of earlier landslides and floods, an official said.

No one was injured when the landslide hit Tengklik village in Tawangmangu area of Central Java around 1:00 pm, health ministry official Rustam Pakaya said.

"Fortunately, there are no lives lost, however 177 people are displaced," Pakaya said.

The landslides and floods have killed at least 65 people in heavily populated Central and East Java after torrential rains lashed the region.

Search teams were continuing to dig manually and use water to clear the mud to find victims.

Rescuers have been hampered by a lack of heavy earth-moving equipment as landslides, poor weather and large fallen trees hindered their progress.

President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono was touring disaster areas in Central Java.

While activists blame such landslides on the disappearance of trees that stabilise soil and help absorb rain, local officials have insisted the unusually heavy downfalls have destabilised already vulnerable hilly areas.

Landslides and flooding are common in Indonesia during the rainy season, which hits a peak from December to February.

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Natural catastrophes will grow with climate change: re-insurer
Frankfurt (AFP) Dec 27, 2007
Natural catastrophes in 2007 were more frequent and costlier than a year earlier and climate change will make them more expensive still, the world's second-biggest re-insurer, Munich Re, said Thursday.

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