Indonesian rescuers hunted Thursday for victims of landslides and floods on Java island that have left more than 130 people feared dead and tens of thousands displaced, officials said.

Landslides hit two districts in Central Java in the early hours of Wednesday morning, engulfing entire homes and blocking roads, while floods in East Java swept away a bridge, leaving an estimated 50 missing.

Health ministry official Rustam Pakaya said at least 28,000 people were displaced in Central Java, where figures were still being compiled, while the Red Cross said 45,000 people fled their homes in East Java.

Five tonnes of instant meals and biscuits, 10 tonnes of baby food and several boats were dispatched to the disaster zones from Jakarta, he said.

In Central Java, hundreds of troops, police, local officials and residents used their hands, hoes and shovels to search for bodies, with the arrival of earth-moving equipment delayed by slides and poor roads.

In worst-hit Karanganyar district, the head of the local disaster management centre Heru Aji Pratomo said 12 bodies were plucked from the muddy wreckage, bringing the number of bodies recovered to 48.

Most of the bodies were recovered from mud as deep as three metres (10 feet) using heavy machinery, he told ElShinta radio.

He said another 20 bodies were believed missing, adding that due to heavy rains the search had been halted and would not resume again until Friday.

A witness in Karanganyar said that the landslide had felt like an earthquake.

"Suddenly I felt my house shaking, and I thought it was an earthquake. When I got outside, I saw that the houses next to mine were already covered by earth," resident Siswo told AFP.

Twelve of his neighbours' homes were hit, he added.

In an adjacent district, the head of the disaster management centre Sri Mubadi told AFP that two more bodies were recovered, bringing the toll to six, with 11 missing, he said.

Only manual equipment was also being used here, he added.

In East Java, operational unit chief of Madiun district police Alit Suyasa said that at least 100 rescuers were deployed to search for the estimated 50 people believed to have been on a bridge swept away by a swollen river.

"We found today three motorcycles stuck not far from the bridge," he said, adding that no bodies were recovered.

"Floodwaters are still high and the current is very strong."

The search was abandoned when heavy rains again began falling, he told AFP.

Meanwhile firebrand Islamic cleric Abu Bakar Bashir toured a village in Karanganyar and said people had probably brought the disaster on themselves.

"This was likely caused by immoral acts going on here," 69-year-old Bashir told reporters during his 10-minute visit, without elaborating.

"This could be a lesson to be learned," he admonished.

Bashir served more than two years for his role in a "sinister conspiracy" that led to the 2002 Bali bombings which left 202 people dead. The Supreme Court last December overturned his conviction.

Indonesia has been repeatedly afflicted by deadly floods and landslides in recent years, with activists warning that logging and a failure to reforest denuded land in the world's fourth-most populous country are often to blame.

But in Central Java, officials insisted deforestation was not to blame.

"The hills are unstable and vulnerable to landslides anyway," said district disaster management centre head Mubadi.