Death Toll from Indonesia Floods, Mudslides Rises to 89

The number of dead is expected to rise as rescue workers comb through affected areas.

2 min read
This aerial shot taken on Sunday, 17 March, 2019 shows the area affected by flash floods in Sentani, Papua province, Indonesia. Flash floods and mudslides triggered by downpours tore through mountainside villages in Indonesia’s easternmost province, killing dozens of people, disaster officials said.

The death toll from flash floods and mudslides triggered by torrential downpours in Indonesia's easternmost province has risen to 89, with dozens of others missing, officials said on Tuesday, 18 March.

Floodwaters and landslides destroyed roads and bridges in several areas of Papua province's Jayapura district early Sunday, hampering rescue efforts.

National Disaster Mitigation Agency spokesman Sutopo Purwo Nugroho said the worst-hit area from the flooding was Sentani subdistrict, where tons of mud, rocks and trees from a landslide on a mountain rolled down to a river that burst its banks, sweeping away residents.

He said 89 bodies had been pulled from the mud and wreckage of crumpled homes by Tuesday.

Another 159 people were injured, including 84 who were hospitalised, many with broken bones and head wounds.

Death Toll Expected to Rise

The number of dead is expected to rise as rescue workers comb through affected areas.

More than 1,600 rescuers, including soldiers and police, faced difficulties on Tuesday in clearing huge piles of debris due to shortages of heavy equipment, said Papua military spokesman Col Muhammad Aidi.

"We face difficulties removing debris and the bodies under rubble as we don't have enough excavators," Aidi said, adding that rescuers were searching for 74 people reportedly missing and feared dead.

Nugroho said about 7,000 residents were displaced from their homes, with more than 400 houses and other buildings damaged and thousands of others submerged.

Seasonal downpours cause frequent landslides and floods that kill dozens each year in Indonesia, a chain of 17,000 islands where millions of people live in mountainous areas or near fertile flood plains.

(This story was auto-published from a syndicated feed. No part of the story has been edited by The Quint.)

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