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Flash floods kill at least 21, displace hundreds in Indonesia

JAKARTA: Flash floods and landslides have killed at least 21 people and displaced hundreds in a district on the Indonesian island of Sulawesi, officials at the country’s disaster mitigation agency said on Wednesday (Jul 15).

The death toll rose to 21 with the discovery of six more bodies including a child but authorities said it was not clear how many people were still missing.

Dozens thought to have been swept away had been located but at least two remained unaccounted for.

“The number of missing people might increase as many villages haven’t reported exact data of their missing residents,” said the agency’s chief in South Sulawesi, Muhammad Rizal.

Putri Nirmala Pakaya, whose three-year-old daughter was missing, pleaded with officials to help find her child who was swept out of her father’s arms by the floods.

“We were sleeping when the floods suddenly hit our house hard three times. The third time, our house collapsed,” she told AFP on Wednesday.

Putri, her husband, and her five-month-old son survived although she suffered a fractured leg.

Hundreds of houses as well as government offices and public facilities were engulfed in mud from the floods.

Villagers searched through their homes for pots and pans and other belongings to take to the temporary shelters.

In one village, photographs showed a damaged house and a truck partially submerged under thick mud, while a runway at a local airport was also swamped by mud and debris.

A man steps over debris near a house submerged in mud after flash floods swept through Radda villag

A man steps over debris near a house submerged in mud after flash floods swept through Radda village, as several people were killed and dozens remain missing in North Luwu in Sulawesi, Indonesia July 14, 2020. Picture taken July, 14 2020. Antara Foto/Hariandi Hafid/via REUTERS

A house is seen submerged in mud after flash floods swept through a Radda Village, as several peopl

A house is seen submerged in mud after flash floods swept through a Radda Village, as several people were killed and dozens remain missing, in North Luwu in Sulawesi, Indonesia July 14, 2020, Picture taken July, 14 2020. Antara Foto/Hariandi Hafidi/via REUTERS

“I hope we will be united in our recovery efforts,” Nurdin Abdullah, the governor of South Sulawesi, said on Kompas TV.

READ: Flash floods kill 15 in Indonesia, dozens missing

Nearly 1,600 people were taking refuge in temporary shelters, the Search and Rescue Agency said on Wednesday.

People pass through mud on a runway at Andi Jemma Masamba airport, after flash floods killed severa

People pass through mud on a runway at Andi Jemma Masamba airport, after flash floods swept through North Luwu in Indonesia’s Sulawesi, as several people were killed and dozens remain missing, July 14, 2020, Picture Taken July 14, 2020. Antara Foto/via Reuters

Officers evacuate victims in Radda Village, following flash floods that left several dead and dozen

Officers evacuate victims in Radda Village, following flash floods that left several dead and dozens remain missing, in North Luwu in Sulawesi, Indonesia July 14, 2020. Picture taken July 14, 2020. Antara Foto/Indra/ via REUTERS

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Indonesia frequently suffers from floods and landslides particularly during the rainy season, though the situation is often made worse by the cutting down of forests.

Flooding also killed 66 people in the Indonesian capital Jakarta in January, amid some of the heaviest rain since records began.


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