Heavy rains trigger landslide, floods in Indonesia; 23 dead

James Marshall
April 5, 2021

Massive flashflood and landslide triggered by overnight rain have killed at least 54 people on an eastern Indonesian island early on Sunday, with authorities saying a lot more islanders are still unaccounted for.

Sparked by torrential rain, the deluge and subsequent landslides sent thousands fleeing into shelters as dams overflowed and their homes were submerged.

"Four sub-districts and 7 villages have been impacted".

"We are still documenting the total number of people injured", Mr Raditya said, adding that extreme weather is expected to continue this week.

Dr Francis said the national laboratory where Timor-Leste conducts COVID-19 tests had been flooded on the weekend, but workers at the facility had put in an "enormous" effort and successfully saved testing equipment and reagents by moving them above the waters.

The country's Meteorological, Climatology and Geophysics Agency (BMKG) has said extreme weather, such as heavy rains, strong winds and huge waves, may occur in parts of Indonesia, including the West Nusa Tenggara and East Nusa Tenggara provinces.

"We suspect many people are buried but it's not clear how many are missing", Mr Bethan said.

"We are now focusing on elderly victims, children and pregnant women to be taken to a safe place", it quoted Mr Joaquim Gusmao, the state secretary for civil protection, as saying.

East Flores deputy regent Agustinus Payong Boli estimated there were 60 casualties in his municipality.

"The majority of them, 55, are in Lemanele village".

The federal opposition says the Australian government must prepare to respond to devastating floods that have hit Timor-Leste, sweeping away hundreds of homes and reportedly leaving at least 21 people dead.

Images from Lemanele showed engulfed houses, debris covering entire roads, fallen trees and damaged power lines.

Road access has been cut off and local officials were forced to deploy heavy equipment to reopen the roads.

Images from the island showed barefoot locals wading through mud and past collapsed houses to evacuate victims on makeshift stretchers.

Severe flooding also has been reported in Bima, a town in the neighbouring province of West Nusa Tenggara, forcing almost 10,000 people to flee, Jati said.

Dams in four sub-districts also overflowed, submerging almost 10,000 houses in Bima following a nine-hour downpour, said Jati.

January saw flash floods hit the Indonesian town of Sumedang in West Java, killing 40 people.

In neighbouring Timor Leste, eight people were killed in a landslide on the outskirts of the capital, Dili, state news agency Tatoli reported.

Seasonal downpours cause frequent landslides and floods and kill dozens each year in Indonesia, a chain of 17,000 islands where millions of people live in mountainous areas or near fertile flood plains.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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