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58 dead in flash floods in Indonesia, search for 35 missing



58 dead in flash floods in Indonesia, search for 35 missing

The National Disaster and Management Agency will search for the missing people near rivers. (File)

Jakarta, Indonesia:

The search for 35 people still missing from flash floods and mudslides in Indonesia’s West Sumatra province continued on Wednesday, authorities said, as the number of victims from the weekend disaster rose to 58.

Heavy rain on Saturday evening caused flash floods, landslides and cold lava flows – a muddy mixture of volcanic ash, rock debris and water – in three districts and one city in West Sumatra province. On Tuesday the number of victims was 52.

The cold lava flow, known by the Indonesian word lahar, came from Mount Marapi, one of Sumatra’s most active volcanoes. More than twenty people were killed in the eruption of Marapi in December. Since then a series of outbursts followed.

National disaster and management agency BNPB will concentrate the search for the missing people in areas near rivers and clear main roads of large rocks, debris and mud brought by the floods, chief Suharyanto said in a statement on Wednesday.

Video shared by BNPB showed logs, rocks and mud strewn across roads in Tanah Datar district, with some collapsed bridges and houses.

Residents, helped by local rescue workers, police and military, were cleaning mud from homes and mosques. In some settlements, excavators were used to remove large rocks and trees.

At least 249 houses, 225 hectares of land including rice fields, 19 bridges and most main roads were damaged in three districts and one city.

Indonesia’s meteorology agency BMKG said it plans to try to mitigate the heavy rains expected in West Sumatra in the coming week by using cloud seeding to prevent rain in the worst-affected areas.

Cloud Seeding is widely used in Indonesia, where salt flares are shot into the clouds to cause rainfall in arid areas.

(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)