Indonesia's flash floods, landslides leave 36 dead, over 3,000 evacuated

Saturday, 2020-07-18 10:28:55
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Residents wade through flood water with their belongings after flash flood hit Luwu Utara, Indonesia, July 16, 2020. (Photo: Xinhua)
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Flash floods and landslides in Indonesia's South Sulawesi province have claimed 36 lives and seriously damaged houses and infrastructures, while over 3,000 people were forced to flee home, a disaster agency reported on Friday (July 17).

The death toll of the natural disaster which struck Luwu Utara district early this week climbed to 36 people on Friday with 16 others still missing, said spokesman for the National Disaster Management Agency Raditya Jati.

"The search for the missing persons and evacuation of impacted residents are persistently carried out by rescuers," he told Xinhua in a text message, citing that a total of 359 rescuers are taking parts in the mission.

Over 3,000 residents have taken shelters in several spots as the strong currents carrying mud and sand have submerged over 4,000 houses, the spokesman said.

The flash floods also hit a 12.8-kilometer long road, nine bridges, 13 religious buildings, nine school buildings, eight office buildings, two public facilities and market facilities, he said.

The access to the affected areas has been submerged by the mud with logs, slowing the mobility of the rescuers and distributions of emergency relief assistance, he added.

Heavy downpours were blamed for triggering the water of a river in the district to overflow its banks and submerge surrounding areas, according to the Provincial Search and Rescue Office.