Indonesia landslides, floods kill 41 people; dozens missing

Lawrence Kim
April 6, 2021

AN elderly villager and her grandson stand in floodwaters in front of their damaged home in a village after flash floods and landslides swept Indonesia.

Tropical cyclone Seroja pounded Indonesia and East Timor Monday after torrential rains triggered floods and landslides that have killed at least 113 people and left dozens more missing.

In East Timor, which shares the Timor island with Indonesia, 21 people were killed, the majority in the capital Dili.

Rescuers recovered the bodies of 38 people who died when mud slid onto dozens of houses in Lamenele village on Flores Island in East Flores, said Lenny Ola, who heads the regional disaster agency.

A bridge collapsed on the island of Adonara further east, where rescuers were battling heavy rain, strong wind and waves, he added.

Flooding in Timor Leste is a once-in-fifty years event, says New Zealand-based Jose L. Sousa-Santos, who anxious for his family in Dili after the weekend deluge in his home country. "We are still searching for the areas impacted by the natural disasters" and the toll could rise, said Joaquim José Gusmão dos Reis Martins, the nation's secretary of state for civil protection.

Official death tolls as reported by wire services quoting government sources varied widely, ranging from 113 dead to 160.The general area of destruction includes Komodo National Park, home to the famed giant lizard, the Komodo dragon, although there were no immediate reports from that island. He said more than 1,500 people have been evacuated to shelters in the capital Dili.

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

Aid and relief efforts for the affected villages were hampered by the absence of transportation to Flores island, which was hardest hit.

Rescue workers searching for a body in an area affected by flash floods after heavy rain in East Flores in Indonesia's East Nusa Tenggara province yesterday. At least 70 people in the country have died in flash floods and landslides while over 30,00
Heavy rains kill over 100 in Indonesia, East Timor

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

Injured victims have been evacuated to neighbouring villages that were unaffected by the flash floods, as well as local hospital and health facilities.

Meanwhile, nine hours of rainfall wreaked havoc in Bima, a town in the neighboring province of West Nusa Tenggara.

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

Fatal landslides and flash floods are common across the Indonesian archipelago during the rainy season.

Flash floods killed at least 84 people elsewhere and 71 were still missing in the province, local leaders said at the virtual news conference.

And last September, at least 11 people were killed in landslides on Borneo.

"I can feel the grief of our brothers and sisters there caused by these disasters", Indonesian President Joko Widodo said in a televised address, according to The Associated Press.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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