Death Toll in Sumatra Landslides and Floods Rises to at Least 91

Published November 27th, 2000 - 02:00 GMT

Landslides and floods after days of incessant rain in the northern half of Indonesia's Sumatra island have left at least 91 people dead and more than 100 missing, an official said Monday. 

"On Sunday, two missing people in Pesisir Selatan district were found dead and four dead bodies were found in Malalo in Tanah Datar district" said Zulfahmi (Eds: one name) of the National Search and Rescue office in Padang, the capital of West Sumatra province. 

In the Pasaman district, two bodies were recovered from a landslide while 15 others remained buried under tons of mud and rocks, Zulfahmi said. 

The latest eight bodies brought the confirmed death toll in West Sumatra since last Tuesday to 65. Another 84 people remained missing. 

In North Sumatra and Aceh, which fall in the northern half of Sumatra island, another 26 people were killed by floods and landslides, bringing the death toll to 91.  

In the Dairi district of North Sumatra, five people were recovered dead from landslides, while another 20 remained missing, a press release from the district head, MP Tumanggor said, according to the Detikcom online news service. 

Eleven others were killed in the Tapanuli Selatan district in North Sumatra some 450 kilometers (279 miles) south of the provincial capital of Medan, the Kompas daily said. 

In Aceh, a total of 10 people have been found dead since Thursday after extensive floods there, the Pikiran Rakyat daily said. 

Two bodies were found in Banda Aceh, the Aceh capital, five others were found in the district of Bireun while the last three were found in the district of North Aceh. 

Banda Aceh was plunged into darkness after the electricity supply to the city was cut off following flooding of the city's main power station. Telephone links with other regions, including the capital, remained severed. 

Since the seasonal rains began in West Sumatra on Monday last week thousands of hectares (acres) of paddy fields have been inundated under two meters (six feet) of water, and roads have been cut. 

Some 8,000 people in four villages in the Batangkapas sub-district of Pesisir Selatan, were trapped in waters between two to three meters deep, Kompas quoted district chief Darizal Basir as saying. 

"Some 200 of them are really starved and desperately need food," Basir said, adding that the authorities lacked the means to evacuate the victims. 

Basir said that the flood had flooded 5,585 houses, some under five meters of water, and 13,756 hectares (33,977 acres) of farmland as well as 4,151 hectares (10,252 acres) of ready-for-harvest ricefields. 

It also claimed thousands of cattle, goats and chickens. 

Thousands of people have been evacuated to safer ground in four districts of Pesisir Selatan. 

In Tanah Datar district, some 1,000 people from Malalo had been evacuated and were sheltered in several school buildings, the district's secretary, Yerli Asir, told the Media Indonesia daily. 

In Jambi province, some 3,500 hectares (8,645 acres) of ricefields in four sub-districts there have been under a meter of water for several days, the Antara news agency said.  

There were no reported casualties in Jambi but the floods damaged several bridges and road segments -- JAKARTA (AFP)  




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