Rescuers are being hampered by damaged bridges and lack of heavy equipment after Torrential rains caused havoc in Eastern Indonesia, killing at least 55 people and displacing thousands, the country’s disaster relief agency said on Monday.
Mud and debris came down from surrounding hills over houses in Lamenele village shortly after midnight in Adonara island in East Nusa Tenggara province.
Rescuers recovered 38 bodies and at least five people were injured’, Lenny Ola, Head of the local disaster agency told the reporters.
“Relief efforts faced impediment by power cuts, blocked roads covered in thick mud and debris as well as the remoteness of the area on an island surrounded by choppy seas and high waves,” said the agency’s spokesperson, Raditya Jati.
Hundreds of people fled submerged homes, which were carried off by the floodwaters.
In another village, namely Waiburak, three people were killed and seven missing due to the rain which caused river to burst, releasing muddy water into large areas of East Flores district, Ola said.
According to Raditya Jati, The death toll reached 55 by Monday morning after the rains caused cold lava to tumble down the slopes of Ili Lewotolok volcano and hit several villages.
The lava was left after the volcano had erupted in November. At least six villages have been affected by flash floods and a landslide that cut five bridges on the island, he said.
President Joko calls for Emergency Response Measures
President Joko Widodo said he ordered his Cabinet ministers and the chiefs of the military, police and disaster agency to carry out emergency response measures as quickly as possible.
“I can feel the grief of our brothers and sisters there caused by these disasters,” Widodo said in a televised address, offering deep condolences to the victims.
Hundreds of people were still involved in the rescue efforts, Jati told a news conference.
Authorities are still accumulating information about the casualties and damage caused in the affected areas, Jati said.
Severe flooding also has been reported in Bima, a town in the neighboring province of West Nusa Tenggara, forcing aproximately 10,000 people to flee.
Seasonal rains have been the major cause of floods and landslides in Indonesia, an archipelago of 17,000 islands where millions of people live in mountainous areas or near fertile flood plains.