Thu, Sep 22, 2016 - Page 6 News List

Landslides and floods kill at least 19 in Indonesia

AFP, JAKARTA

Volunteers assist a search-and-rescue team in removing debris from an area hit by a landslide in Sumedang, Indonesia, yesterday.

Photo: AFP

The death toll from a series of landslides and flash floods in Indonesia yesterday climbed to 19, an official said, including several children found by rescuers scouring for survivors.

The worst-hit region was the west of Indonesia’s main island of Java, where torrential downpours in Garut saw floodwaters quickly rise to 2m, Indonesian National Disaster Mitigation Agency spokesman Sutopo Purwo Nugroho said in a statement.

“The official report [from Garut] ... is that 16 people were killed and eight others are still missing,” he said.

Among the dead from the fast-rising floods were an eight-month-old and four other children under the age of 10, Sutopo added, citing a casualty report from the local disaster agency in Garut.

More than 1,000 people have been forced from their homes in the district and are taking shelter in nearby emergency tents set up by search-and-rescue teams.

Elsewhere in West Java, the death toll from a landslide in Sumedang regency rose to three, with one other person still believed missing beneath mud and rock.

The landslide left two others injured and destroyed a mosque, Sutopo added.

Landslides and flooding are common in Indonesia, a vast tropical archipelago prone to natural disasters and torrential downpours.

The agency has warned people to be alert for disasters, as a La Nina weather phenomenon threatens unseasonably heavy rain.

In June, nearly 50 people died when heavy downpours sent torrents of water, mud and rock surging into villages in Central Java, another densely populated province on Indonesia’s main island.

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