Floods in Indonesia, East Timor kill over 100

More than 110 people have died and dozens more remain missing after floods and landslides in Indonesia and East Timor, local officials said on Monday (April 5th).

The sudden rises in water came following torrential rains from Tropical Cyclone Seroja and wreaked havoc in areas between Flores, Indonesia and East Timor, prompting thousands to seek shelter in reception centers.

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The storm, which is now heading to Australia, has killed at least 86 people in Indonesia and 71 are missing, while 27 perished in East Timor. Most of the deaths took place in Dili, the capital, which was flooded, with the esplanade in front of the presidential palace even turning into a mud pond.

Heavy rains are expected to continue on Tuesday, with waves reaching six meters high, according to the Indonesian Disaster Management Agency.

“We do not know how many people are still buried”

“The evacuees are scattered all over the place, there are hundreds of them in all the districts, but many people also stayed at home”, explains Alfons Hada Bethan, head of the Eastern Flores disaster management agency. “They need medicine, food, blankets”. The still strong precipitation also complicates the situation. “We think that many people are still buried, but we do not know how many”, he said.

In Lembata, an island located halfway between Flores and Timor, road access was cut off, forcing the authorities to deploy construction machinery to reopen the roads. Some villages located on heights have partly been swept towards the coast in landslides.

Footage showed residents going barefoot, wading through mud to evacuate casualties on makeshift stretchers. President Joko Widodo shared his “Condolences”. “I appreciate the immense sorrow of our brothers and sisters after this catastrophe”, he said in a speech to the nation.

125 million Indonesians live in areas at risk

Landslides and flash floods are common in the Indonesian archipelago, especially during the rainy season. But conservationists point out that deforestation favors these disasters.

In January, 40 Indonesians were killed in floods that hit the town of Sumedang, in West Java. The national disaster management agency estimates that 125 million Indonesians, or about half of the archipelago’s population, live in areas at risk of landslides.


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