Indonesia: Flash Floods Kill 70, Displaces Thousands

Published April 6th, 2021 - 07:48 GMT
Flash floods leave thousands missing in Indonesia
Villagers carry the body of a victim after flash floods in Lembata, East Flores, on April 5, 2021, as torrential rains triggered floods and landslides that have killed at least 91 people and left dozens missing in Indonesia and neighbouring East Timor. HANDRIANUS EMANUEL / AFP
Highlights
70 people killed and thousands displaced in Indonesia flash floods.

Multiple disasters caused by torrential rains in eastern Indonesia have killed at least 70 people and displaced thousands, the country's disaster relief agency has said.

Mud tumbled down from surrounding hills onto dozens of homes in Lamenele village shortly after midnight on Sunday on Adonara island in East Nusa Tenggara province.

Rescuers recovered 38 bodies and at least five people were injured, said Lenny Ola, who heads the local disaster agency.

Flash flooding killed at least 30 people elsewhere and at least 70 are missing, according to the National Disaster Mitigation Agency.

Meanwhile, 21 deaths have been reported in East Timor.

Relief efforts have been hampered by power outages, as well as blocked roads covered in thick mud.

The bodies of three people were recovered after being swept away by floods in the village of Oyang Barang, where 40 houses were also destroyed, Mr Ola said.

Hundreds of people fled submerged homes, some of which were carried off by the floodwaters.

In another village, Waiburak, three people were killed and seven missing after overnight rains caused rivers to burst their banks, sending muddy water into large areas of East Flores district, Mr Ola said.

 

The rains also caused cold lava to tumble down the slopes of the Ili Lewotolok volcano and hit several villages.

Hundreds of people are still involved in rescue efforts. 

At least nine villages have been affected by flash floods and a landslide that damaged five bridges on the island of Lembata.

Indonesian President Joko Widodo said he had ordered his cabinet ministers and the chiefs of the military, police and disaster agency to carry out emergency response measures and search and rescue operations as quickly as possible.

'I can feel the grief of our brothers and sisters there caused by these disasters,' Mr Widodo said during a televised address, offering his deep condolences to the victims.

Tropical Cyclone Seroja has produced high waves, strong winds and heavy rains for the past three days and its effects were expected to last until Friday, said Dwikorita Karnawati, the head of Indonesia's Meteorology, Climatology and Geophysical Agency.

She warned that the cyclone could trigger tidal waves up to 13 feet (4m) on Sumba, Flores and Rote islands in East Nusa Tenggara province, and up to 19.6 feet (6m) in the southern part of the province and in the Banda Sea and Indian Ocean.

Seasonal rains frequently cause flooding and landslides in Indonesia, an archipelago of 17,000 islands where millions of people live in mountainous areas or near fertile flood plains.

Australian forecasters have warned residents in Western Australia state's far north that the tropical cyclone was intensifying and moving towards them.

Seroja, or lotus flower, formed early on Monday morning in Indonesian waters and was moving south-west, the Bureau of Meteorology said. 

It is not expected to affect Australian communities for the next 48 hours, but residents were urged to monitor forecasts.

This article has been adapted from its original source.


© Associated Newspapers Ltd.

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