Rescuers search for survivors after Indonesian landslides

More than 210 people feared dead.

rescue crews 88 (photo credit: )
rescue crews 88
(photo credit: )
Soldiers and volunteers used their bare hands Thursday to search for survivors buried beneath tons of mud and rock after heavy rains triggered landslides in central Indonesia, wiping out several small villages. More than 210 people were dead or missing, officials said. Thousands of people watched the rescue operations from behind police lines in the village of Cijeruk on Java island, where 16 bodies were recovered since a huge landslide buried the community on Wednesday. More than 100 people remained unaccounted for. Helicopters were trying to reach survivors in the district of Jember, hundreds of miles (kilometers) to the east, where landslides and flash floods this week killed at least 103 people, said local government spokesman Purwanto, who goes by one name. Dozens more were missing or stranded. Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono planned to visit some of the affected areas later Thursday. Heavy tropical downpours cause dozens of landslides and flash floods each year in the world's most populous Muslim nation, where millions of people live in mountainous regions and near fertile flood plains close to rivers.