Jakarta, Indonesia -

Days of torrential rain triggered a landslide and flash floods on Indonesia's Sulawesi island, killing at least 10 people and leaving 20 others missing, police said on Friday.

Residents and rescuers in Batanguru, a village in a hilly corner of Mamasa district in West Sulawesi province, used their bare hands to dig through mud Friday in search of missing relatives, said local police chief Captain Yuslim Yunus.

He said the landslide had blocked a river on Thursday, causing it to burst out of its banks and wash away seven houses.

“Many people didn't have time to save themselves,” said Yunus, adding that the isolated mountainous area and limited telephone communication were hampering search and rescue efforts.

Ten victims were recovered late on Thursday after they drowned or were buried by mud. More than a dozen other people were sent to hospitals with injuries, he said. The death toll may climb as rescue workers continue searching for those still missing.

Seasonal downpours cause frequent landslides and flash floods in Indonesia, a chain of 17 000 islands where millions live in mountainous areas or near fertile flood plains. - Sapa-AP