58 people confirmed dead in Indonesia flash floods

58 people confirmed dead in Indonesia flash floods
Copyright عکس از خبرگزاری رویترز
By Michael DaventryReuters
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Homes and bridges destroyed in Papua province by landslides triggered by torrential rainfall


A rescue operation is underway in Indonesia after torrential rain triggered flash floods and landslides across the province of Papua, leading to widespread loss of life.

At least 58 people have been killed in the disaster, with dozens more injured and more than 4,000 people displaced.

Around 35 tourists are believed to be trapped after landslides hit the tourist island of Lombok, said a disaster agency official, adding that two others are presumably dead.

Two earthquakes struck Lombok when around 40 Malaysian and domestic tourists were visiting the Tiu Kelep waterfall, Muhammad Rum from the West Nusa Tenggara disaster agency told Kompas TV. 

Rescue efforts were only able to evacuate three people and two were found dead, said Rum. 

"We hope they all survive. We cannot be sure yet, the evacuation is still underway," he said, adding could not confirm the nationality of those who died or were rescued.

Hundreds of homes and at least three bridges were damaged by floods in the provincial capital of Jayapura, where a five-month-old baby was among those pulled out alive from the rubble of a house.

A military spokesman said the number of victims was likely to rise because not all areas affected have been reached.

Disaster authorities added there is an increased risk of flash flooding due to deforestation in the mountains surrounding the town.

Sutopo Purwo Nugroho, a spokesman of the national disaster agency, told a news briefing that Jakarta had sent seedlings intended for tree-planting last year.

"Forest destruction in the Cyclops mountains have increased for use as firewood and to turn the land into plantations," he said.

"Since 2018 we have warned the Jayapura government to be careful of flash flood risks because of this deforestation."

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