Intense Search Efforts Underway Following Deadly Landslide in Indonesian Gold Mine

Search efforts escalated in Indonesia's Sulawesi island following a catastrophic landslide at an illegal gold mine that claimed 23 lives. Rescuers, including army troops, intensified their operations amid harsh weather and difficult terrain. More personnel and a helicopter from the Indonesian Air Force were deployed to expedite the rescue mission.

Devdiscourse News Desk | Palu | Updated: 10-07-2024 10:39 IST | Created: 10-07-2024 10:39 IST
Intense Search Efforts Underway Following Deadly Landslide in Indonesian Gold Mine
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Search efforts intensified Wednesday as rescuers focused on the unauthorized gold mine in Indonesia's Sulawesi island where a tragic landslide claimed 23 lives over the weekend. Over 100 villagers were digging for gold in Bone Bolango when the disaster struck, burying their makeshift camps under tons of mud.

The provincial Search and Rescue Office reported that 81 villagers managed to escape, with several pulled out by rescuers. The office confirmed that 23 bodies were recovered, including a 4-year-old boy, while 33 individuals remain missing.

More than 1,000 personnel, including army troops, have been deployed to bolster search efforts, according to Edy Prakoso, the National Search and Rescue Agency's operation director. He mentioned that the Indonesian Air Force would send a helicopter to speed up the operation, hindered thus far by heavy rains, unstable soil, and rugged terrain.

Informal mining operations, notorious for their high risks, are rampant in Indonesia. These ventures often result in landslides, flooding, and tunnel collapses, exacerbated by the hazardous use of mercury and cyanide in gold ore processing.

The last significant mining-related accident occurred in April 2022 when a landslide hit an illegal gold mine in North Sumatra, killing 12 women.

Environmental activists have long campaigned against these operations. Sunday's landslide has renewed their calls for action. Muhammad Jamil from the Mining Advocacy Network blamed local government permissions for the tragedy and criticized a network of local and national stakeholders for protecting illegal miners.

Ferdy Hasiman, a researcher, urged both local and central governments to shut down illegal mines to prevent further environmental degradation and disasters.

(With inputs from agencies.)

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