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Landslide in Indonesia’s illegal gold mining site claims 11 lives, 17 missing

A landslide in Bone Bolango, Gorontalo, Indonesia, caused by heavy rains, claimed 11 lives with 17 missing in an illegal gold mining area. Rescue efforts are underway amidst challenging conditions, including damaged access routes. Authorities urge preparedness as forecasts warn of continued severe weather.



Landslide in Indonesia's illegal gold mining site claims 11 lives, 17 missing
(Photo: X/InfoFPMKI)

GORONTALO, INDONESIA: The number of casualties from a devastating landslide in the gold mining area of Bone Bolango, Gorontalo, continues to rise.

Triggered by heavy rainfall, the incident has claimed the lives of at least 11 individuals, with 17 more still missing.

The victims were predominantly traditional miners and their families from Gorontalo and North Sulawesi, who were caught under a deluge of rock material at the mining site.

“As of Monday morning, 11 fatalities have been confirmed, alongside 5 survivors. Search efforts are ongoing for the 17 individuals reported missing,” stated Heriyanto, Head of the Gorontalo Search and Rescue (SAR) Office on Monday (8 July).

Among the deceased, 8 bodies have been recovered and brought to the main command post, while efforts to retrieve the remaining 3 are underway at the landslide site.

Over 200 personnel, comprising SAR teams, the Indonesian National Army and police, local government officials, and other agencies, are involved in the search, rescue, and evacuation operations.

These efforts are being conducted amidst challenging conditions, including fluctuating weather patterns and compromised access routes due to damaged bridges.

“The main command post, located 23.75 kilometres from the landslide site, was chosen for its safety and strong communication infrastructure,” noted Heriyanto.

“We are also awaiting updates on potential additional victims, as initial reports indicated numerous individuals were present at the location when the landslide occurred.”

The landslide disaster occurred in the early hours of Sunday (7 July) in Tulabolo Village, East Suwawa District, Bone Bolango, as heavy rain fell in the area.

The peak of the rain at around 01:00 a.m. local time caused the ground to move, resulting in a landslide at an illegal gold mining site.

Chief Executive of Regional Disaster Management Agency (BPBD) Bone Bolango, Achril Babyonggo, reported that the team has been working on evacuating victims and vacating the area around the incident to prevent further casualties in case of subsequent landslides.

It is estimated that between 5,000 and 7,000 people are in this illegal gold mining area.

“This illegal gold mine has been operating for decades and most of those who come to mine are people from outside the area. Our current focus is on rescue and evacuation,” said Babyonggo.

In response to the disaster, the National Disaster Management Agency (BNPB) issued a press statement urging local authorities to prepare for anticipated weather changes.

The Meteorology, Climatology, and Geophysics Agency (BMKG) has forecasted moderate to heavy rainfall accompanied by strong winds in Bone Bolango Regency and other parts of Gorontalo Province on Monday (8 July) and Tuesday (9 July).

BNPB urged local authorities and communities to heighten preparedness in anticipation of further possible disasters.

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Last edited 2 days ago by Blankslate