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Indonesian Officials: Landslides, Floods Leave at Least 81 Dead or Missing


Rescuers using shovels, sticks and their bare hands continue to search through the rubble of houses destroyed by landslides on the main Indonesian island of Java.

Heavy rains and flooding triggered the landslides, leaving at least 81 people dead or missing - most of them in central Java. Thousands of people were forced to flee after their homes were buried or washed away.

Local television showed images of ruined houses and people wading through high water, clutching their belongings.

Rescue workers tried Wednesday to bring in heavy equipment to the affected areas, but were cut off by high water and mud.

Seasonal rains and high tides over the past few days have caused widespread flooding over much of Indonesia. Landslides are common in Indonesia, where years of deforestation have stripped the ground of vegetation that can hold the soil during heavy rain.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP, AP and Reuters.

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