BFF-34 Death toll from Indonesia floods, landslides climbs to 68

603

ZCZC

BFF-34

INDONESIA-ENVIRONMENT-DISASTER

Death toll from Indonesia floods, landslides climbs to 68

JAKARTA, Jan 26, 2019 (BSS/AFP) – At least 68 people have been killed and
thousands were forced to flee their homes after floods and landslides hit the
island of Sulawesi, Indonesia, an official said Saturday.

Some 6,700 people in 14 districts have been evacuated and are now living in
shelters, schools, tents or mosques.

The number of the evacuees has doubled from Friday after the disaster
mitigation officials managed to get access to previously isolated districts
and update the figures.

Six people are still declared missing after the disaster.

“Many evacuees have started to go home and clean up their house because the
rain is no longer intense today,” head of local disaster mitigation agency
Syamsibar, who like many Indonesians goes by one name, told AFP Saturday.

Gowa district was the worst hit with at least 45 people found dead. Local
government have set up public kitchens and emergency medical clinics for the
displaced people and aid has started pouring into the affected districts,
Syamsibar said.

Water has started to recede and access to transportation has slowly
returned to normal.

Landslides and floods are common in Indonesia, especially during the
monsoon season between October and April, when rains lash the vast Southeast
Asian archipelago.

Last year, flash floods and landslides killed at least 22 people in several
districts across Sumatra island, while a dozen died when an avalanche of mud
and rock cascaded down a steep slope in central Java, Indonesia’s main
island.

In 2016, also in Central Java, about 50 people died when heavy downpours
sent torrents of water, mud and rock into villages.

Indonesia is one of the most disaster-prone nations on Earth, straddling
the Pacific Ring of Fire, where tectonic plates collide. Volcanic eruptions
and earthquakes are common.

In December, more than 400 were killed in a volcano-triggered tsunami in
western Java, while thousands died in a quake-tsunami disaster around the
city of Palu on Sulawesi island in September.

Lombok, an island next to Bali, was rocked by earthquakes in the summer
that killed more than 500 and sparked a mass exodus of foreigners from the
tropical paradise.

BSS/AFP/MSY/1821 hrs