This handout photo taken and released on March 6, 2023 by the BNPB (National Disaster Management Agency) shows people inspecting the damage at a village that was hit by landslides in Natuna in Indonesia's Riau province. (PHOTO / AFP)
Landslides occurred in Indonesia's western province of Riau Islands on Monday, leaving at least 10 dead and several others missing, a rescue official said in a statement.
Heavy downpours and unstable soil conditions were blamed for the natural disaster in Natuna Regency of the province, said Abdul Muhari, spokesman for the National Disaster Management Agency.
"The number of casualties may rise," said Junainah, head of the Emergency Unit of the provincial disaster management and mitigation agency, adding that the search and rescue operation for the victims is still underway.
Junainah also said that poor weather conditions and poor telecommunication access had hampered the rescue operation.
Responding to the disaster, the search and rescue office in Natuna Regency had deployed a joint-rescue team to the scene, Yusuf Latief, spokesman of the national search and rescue office told Xinhua by phone.
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The team consists of soldiers, police officers, firefighters and personnel of the local disaster management agency, he said.
"The team is now on its way to the scene by ship but unfavorable weather conditions and huge waves hampered their access to the scene," Latief said.