JAKARTA - Rescuers on Indonesia's Nias island were struggling Thursday to reach a village hit by a landslide that left at least five dead and 30 missing, an official said.
Three days of heavy rains triggered the landslide in the district of Majo Kampung Barije Wednesday, burying at least 37 houses in a 115-family village.
"Up until now, five people have been pulled out from the mud by locals, and 30 people from the village are still missing," local disaster management agency official Robertna Mendeva told AFP.
"Rescuers, including the military and police, are having difficulty reaching the village, as the bridge linking (to) the village collapsed. The water currents are very strong and it's still raining," he said.
The five bodies were recovered by locals from a neighbouring village, Mendeva said.
Nias, a popular island for surf tourism, sits about 120 kilometres - or a 10-hour ferry ride - off the western coast of Sumatra.
The island was devastated in 2004 by the Indian Ocean tsunami that killed more than 300 people and caused serious damage to infrastructure, displacing around 10,000 people from their homes.
It was hit again in 2005 by an earthquake in which over 1,500 people died. Landslides are common in Indonesia during the wet season, particularly in heavily deforested mountainous areas.
A landslide and flash floods in May, triggered by heavy rain, killed 17 people and inundated four villages on Indonesia's Java island.
At least 148 people were killed when flash floods smashed through Teluk Wondama district in West Papua province late last year.