National Disaster Mitigation Agency spokesman Sutopo Purwo Nugroho said 17 people were also injured by the landslide that occurred at 8am at a village in Ponorogo in East Java province, due to heavy rain since Friday night.
"Signs of possible landslides were actually felt by villagers for the past 20 days, with some cracks seen on the rocky hill in the village," Sutopo said.
The landslide struck 23 houses and farmers harvesting ginger on a hillside in Banaran village in Ponorogo district, said Sutopo.
The local army chief, Lt Col Slamet Sarijanto, said villagers told him that 38 people were buried by the slide -- 22 in their houses and 16 while harvesting ginger.
The search was halted late Saturday and would resume on Sunday "because the weather conditions and unstable terrain could lead to more landslides" Sutopo said.
Difficulty in accessing the disaster site hampered rescue efforts.
The landslide -- measuring 800 metres long and 20 metres high, according to Sutopo -- overturned vehicles, shattered and buried buildings, and left a massive scar on a hillside where lush vegetation had been torn away.-BANGKOK POST