Flash floods cause heavy casualties in E Indonesia: official

20:01, October 13, 2010      

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Flash floods which hit West Papua in east Indonesia early this month have left at least 149 people dead and 123 others missing, an official at the Disaster and Mitigation Management Agency, Eka Saputra, said Wednesday.

A total of 165 people have been seriously injured and 665 others suffered from slight wounds, he said.

Poor access to the scene and lack of vehicles due to sludge and fallen trees had hampered the rescue operation.

Local officials said that the catastrophe has destroyed most of infrastructure in Wasior town, including bridges, houses, and health facilities.

"As many as 7,809 people have sought refugee in Manokwari, Teluk Wondama and Nabire," Saputra, head of rescuer in West Papua Muhammad Arifin said.

The government said that extreme weather triggered consecutive days of downpours which then caused floods.

Papua island had been rocked by a strong quake days before the floods, which may have strengthened the impact of the floods, officials said.

Relief aid has been channeled by war ships and planes to the remote West Papua.

Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono arrived in West Papua on Wednesday and planned to visit Wasior town on Thursday.

Indonesia, an archipelago country with over 17,500 islands, has frequently suffered from floods and landslide during the wet season, usually from December to April annually.

The Meteorology and Geophysics Agency warns extreme weather till the end of January.

Source: Xinhua


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