Death toll mounts after flash floods and landslides hit Indonesia

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At least 50 people have died after flash flooding and landslides hit Indonesia and Timor Leste on Sunday.

This general view shows debris left behind in the town of Adonara in East Flores on April 4, 2021, after flash floods and landslides swept eastern Indonesia and neighbouring East Timor.

Debris left behind in the town of Adonara in East Flores after floods and landslides swept eastern Indonesia and neighbouring East Timor. Photo: AFP

Torrential rain sparked widespread destruction, with flood water from overflowing dams submerging thousands of homes on the islands.

The affected area stretched from Flores Island in eastern Indonesia to the neighbouring nation of Timor Leste.

Rescuers are still attempting to find survivors, and officials warned the death toll could rise further.

“Four sub-districts and seven villages have been impacted,” Indonesian Disaster Mitigation Agency spokesperson Raditya Jati told reporters.

“After verifying the data with our team in the field, we found that there are 41 people dead; 27 people are still missing and nine people are injured.”

However East Flores deputy regent Agustinus Payong Boli estimated that as many as 60 people in his municipality had died. This number has not been confirmed by Indonesian national authorities.

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“The majority of them, 55, are in Lemanele village,” he told AFP news agency. “Many people died here because the village was hit by both landslides and flash floods.”

An elderly villager and her grandson stand in floodwaters in front of their damaged home in the village of Haitimuk in East Flores on April 4, 2021, after flash floods and landslides swept eastern Indonesia and neighbouring East Timor.

An elderly villager and her grandson stand in floodwaters in front of their damaged home in the village of Haitimuk in East Flores. Photo: AFP

Officials in Timor Leste said another 11 people were killed by flooding in the capital, Dili.

“We are still searching for the areas impacted by the natural disasters,” Joaquim Jose Gusmao dos Reis Martins, Secretary of State for Civil Protection for Timor, told reporters.

Injured people on the islands have been evacuated to neighbouring villages that were unaffected, and to local hospitals and other health centres.

Flash floods and fatal landslides are common across the Indonesian archipelago during the monsoon season, which usually runs from November to March.

This general view shows homes surrounded by floodwaters in the village of Haitimuk in East Flores on April 4, 2021, after flash floods and landslides swept eastern Indonesia and neighbouring East Timor.

Homes surrounded by floodwaters in the village of Haitimuk in East Flores. Photo: AFP

– BBC

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