Jakarta: Rescue operations in Indonesia were underway on Tuesday for the 42 people missing after a landslide that killed 15 on a remote island.
The landslide occurred on Monday in the Natuna region between Borneo and peninsular Malaysia on the island of Serasan, which is home to about 8,000 people.
The landslide was triggered by six days of heavy rains and buried dozens of houses, trapping people inside. It was reported that 42 people were trapped in 27 houses that were buried in mud.
The official death count stands at 10 while the villagers put the death toll at 15. More than 1,200 people have been displaced because of the landslide.
"The number of fatalities might change at any time. Of 15 fatalities, 10 bodies had been retrieved," Disaster agency spokesperson Abdul Muhari said.
Continued rain, downed communications lines and the island's remote location have impeded the rescue operations.
"Distribution of relief supplies has been difficult because the injured and displaced are spread out and hard to reach," Muhari said.
Heavy equipment such as excavators are yet to reach the landslide site requiring rescuers to travel by boat, vehicles and then by foot.
Rescuers are awaiting additional personnel and equipment to boost their efforts, the disaster agency said. The rescue team was joined by soldiers, police and volunteers in the Genting and Pangkalan villages.
Two helicopters and a plane carrying tents, food and blankets will be sent from Jakarta to expedite the rescue operation and relief aid, Muhari said.