Floods and landslides triggered by monsoon rains left close to 100 people dead or missing on the main Indonesian island of Java yesterday, officials said.
Landslides hit villages in densely populated central Java's Karanganyar and Wonogiri districts early yesterday after heavy downpours, with floods also swelling in several areas, leaving 42 dead and 42 missing, they said.
"The last report we received at 4pm shows that 66 people in nine areas in Karanganyar district are dead or missing," said Heru Aji Pratomo, head of a local disaster management center.
He said that 36 bodies had been retrieved. Seven of the areas he referred to were hit by landslides and two others were inundated by floods, he said.
Sri Mubadi, an official at the disaster management center in Wonogiri district, to the south, said that six bodies had been recovered but 12 others remained missing.
In Karanganyar, one family of four died after a landslide slammed into their home.
"The husband was actually evacuated and survived, but knowing that his wife and two children had died, he went into shock which made his condition worse. He later died," said Edi Susanto from Karanganyar's disaster management center.
A truck carrying three men also careened into a river as it tried to avoid a landslide.
"We've just found the three dead bodies in the river," Susanto said.
In Tawangmangu, the worst-hit area, hundreds of troops, police and residents combed through debris using their hands, shovels and wooden sticks to search for victims.
Pratomo said that the recovery of bodies would take at least two or three days.
"The conditions here are very bad and steep, so that we cannot use heavy machinery," Pratomo said.
TV footage showed flood evacuees clutching their belongings above their heads as they sloshed through muddy brown water reaching chest height.
Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono relayed his sympathies to the families of the deceased.
"The president sends his deepest condolences and has ordered the home affairs minister to coordinate with local officials and monitor the emergency response," his spokesman, Andi Mallarangeng, told Metro TV.
Meanwhile in East Java, where heavy rains have also been falling, at least 10 people were killed when a bridge was swept away by swelling flood waters, Andi Hartoyo, chief of police at Madiun district, told ElShinta radio.
"Based on several witnesses, at least 10 people were swept away by strong currents as they were standing on the bridge when it collapsed," he said.
"Local officials have been working on collecting data about missing people. We cannot start the search [for bodies or survivors] as the current is very strong now," Hartoyo said.
The Sinar Harapan afternoon newspaper reported that a family of four had also died in a separate landslide in East Java's Ngawi district, citing a local policeman.
And on the tourist haven of Bali, two Indonesians were killed when a small landslide, also triggered by heavy rains, hit their house in a village in Gianyar district, local policeman Sumantre said.
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