Flash floods in eastern Indonesia leave dozens dead, missing

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April 4 (UPI) — Flash floods and landslides caused by torrential rains in eastern Indonesia have killed more than 40 people with dozens missing, officials said.

Indonesia’s National Disaster Mitigation Agency reported early Monday that 44 people had died and 24 were still missing following flash floods that were reported from the Flores Island to neighboring East Timor.

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More than 250 residents of the East Flores Regency in southern Indonesia also sought refuge at local village halls while those injured in the incident have received medical attention, the BNPB said.

Officials said a total of nine villages across four districts were impacted, with floods causing 17 houses to be washed away, 60 to be submerged in mud and five bridges to be damaged.

Rescue efforts have been impeded by the weather as rain, wind and waves threaten boats that attempt to reach the affected areas as sea crossings are the main access routes, BNPB said.

“On the other hand, the evacuation of victims buried in mud is still constrained by heavy equipment,” the agency said.

The flash floods were caused by torrents of rain that began to fall early Sunday but the Meteorology, Climatology and Geophysics Agency warns more extreme weather may batter the region until Friday.

“The province of East Nusa Tenggara has the potential to experience heavy rain, which can be accompanied by lightning and strong winds,” it said.

Flash floods and landslides during the monsoon season are common in Indonesia, often resulting in casualties.