Hillside crashes onto Indonesian farmers; 5 dead, 18 missing

People take photos of a landslide in Brebes, Indonesia February 22, 2018, in this image obtained from social media. (Aji Santoso/via REUTERS)
Updated 23 February 2018
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Hillside crashes onto Indonesian farmers; 5 dead, 18 missing

BREBES, Indonesia: Farmers were working in their rice paddies on the Indonesian island of Java, when the soggy hillside above them collapsed under the weight of torrential rains, killing five people and leaving rescuers digging for 18 missing.
Survivors described a sudden roar as Thursday’s landslide was unleashed, sweeping trees and everything else in its path toward the terraced rice fields below.
“The hill above us looked like it was spinning down,” said Watirah, a 53-year-old farmer from Pasir Panjang village, who with other villagers from the affected hamlet in Central Java’s Brebes district tried to outrun the sliding earth.
“I tried to keep going, tried to stand up and screamed loudly for help before I fell again,” said Watirah, who goes by a single name. “I felt my body was so weak I couldn’t stand up, but three people came to save me,” she said. Her husband, Minarto, who was working in a nearby field, also narrowly survived.
Hundreds of rescuers including soldiers and villagers were using their bare hands and farm tools to search for victims buried beneath tons of mud and soil. The search and rescue team was having difficulty finding victims because of the unstable muddy conditions and width of the landslide.
“Heavy equipment cannot be used,” said National Disaster Mitigation Agency spokesman Sutopo Purwo Nugroho.
Sutopo said 14 people were hospitalized with injuries. He said 18 others are missing based on reports from residents.
Local disaster official Eko Andalas said the landslide, which started in surrounding hills that are part of a forestry plantation, was triggered by torrential rains.
Disaster officials urged people to stay away from the area because of the risk of further landslides.
Seasonal rains cause widespread flooding and landslides across much of Indonesia, an archipelago of more than 17,000 islands. Millions of people live in mountainous regions and on flood plains.


Interfaith coexistence on agenda at Moscow meeting

Updated 32 min 1 sec ago
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Interfaith coexistence on agenda at Moscow meeting

  • The meeting between Zuhair bin Ali Azhar, the chairman and CEO of DLT, and Sergei Stepashin, the chairman of IOPS, developed grounds for a joint agreement to renounce extremism
  • The DLT CEO told Arab News that during his visit to IOPS the two groups discussed the Qaweem initiative, which aims to combat intellectual extremism and promote moderate thought

JEDDAH: A joint agreement to counter extremism was discussed at a meeting between the Distance Learning and Training Company (DLT) and the Imperial Orthodox Palestine Society (IOPS) on Tuesday in Moscow.

The meeting between Zuhair bin Ali Azhar, the chairman and CEO of DLT, and Sergei Stepashin, the chairman of IOPS, at its headquarters in the capital, developed grounds for a joint agreement to renounce extremism, promote peaceful coexistence among people of different religions, and to support cooperation in training and education.

The DLT CEO told Arab News that during his visit to IOPS the two groups discussed the “Qaweem” initiative, which aims to combat intellectual extremism and promote moderate thought.

He highlighted that “the initiative is being finalized to launch during the coming period across the world.”

Azhar added: “The Qaweem initiative has a clear, effective and purposeful message for the whole world and aims to counter extremism, renounce terrorism, and promote moderate thought, intellectual security and coexistence values for people to communicate with each other without discrimination.

“The initiative also contributes to supporting education, development and training in countries that need it.”

The chief of IOPS called for a strategic partnership that aims to reject extremist ideas and promote peaceful coexistence between religions without religious, lingual or gender discrimination.

The meeting was concluded by the signing of a strategic cooperation and partnership agreement covering the initiative.

The meeting was attended by Elena Agapova, the vice chairman of IOPS, Albir-hazrat Krganov, the mufti of Moscow and head of the Spiritual Assembly of Muslims of Russia, and Stanislav Kudryashov, the president of the Center for International Partnership and Business Cooperation (CIBPC).