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Deadly Sumatra landslide wipes out homes

By Indonesia correspondent George Roberts, Tuesday January 29, 2013 - 07:13 EDT

More than two dozen people have been killed, injured or are missing as a result of a landslide caused by heavy rain on the Indonesian island of Sumatra.

By last night, 14 people had died in the muddy landslip, a further nine were injured and six were still missing.

The side of a hill in Agam, west Sumatra, slid away on Sunday, wiping out homes, rice paddies and an orchard.

Government news wire Antara has put the economic damage at $800,000 and says rescue efforts have been hampered by poor access to the area.

With a small road being the only way to get to in, heavy equipment has not been able to reach the region to help dig for more victims.

Police, military and rescue workers are searching with sniffer dogs.

Meanwhile, disaster authorities are hoping a massive cloud-seeding operation will prevent more major flooding in the capital, Jakarta.

The cloud-seeding operation involves scattering salt in heavy rain clouds to get them to dump water on the ocean before they reach the capital and areas upstream.

Sutopo Purwo Negroho from the National Disaster Management Centre says the operation is aimed at avoiding the record-breaking flood which was forecast to hit by now.

He says he is not sure whether the same technique would work in Australia, as weather patterns are different, but an assessment could be done.


© ABC 2013

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