15 killed, dozens missing in Indonesian floods: officials
Jayapura, Indonesia (AFP) Oct 4, 2010
At least 15 people were killed and dozens were missing Monday after flash floods smashed through a district in eastern Indonesia's West Papua province, officials said.
The early morning floods were unleashed after continuous torrential downpours that began late Sunday in Teluk Wondama district.
"Fifteen bodies have been found," provincial official ML Rumadap told AFP.
Thousands of buildings including houses, schools and offices were badly damaged and bridges had collapsed, he added.
"The waters have subsided a little but it's still raining so many people are still scared and nervous," he said.
One resident, Lubis, told AFP the floods were about three metres deep.
"The waters swept my motorcycle to the roof. We don't know where to run. Like me, some of my neighbours are on the rooftops. Others are on the trees and lamp-posts," he said.
A local official said that hundreds of people had been displaced and sought refuge in uphill areas.
"Many children went missing," district spokeswoman Titi Ningsih Winzer said, according to the Kompas news website.
National disaster management centre spokesman Priyadi Kardono earlier said "dozens" were still missing.
Rescuers were struggling to get to the affected areas as "many trees have fallen down and blocked the roads," he added.
National Search and Rescue Agency spokesman Gagah Prakoso said a 12-man team with a 150-seat rescue boat was on its way to the area.
"But we're having difficulty trying to reach the officials there yet as the phone signal is down," he told AFP.
Floods and landslides are common in Indonesia, which is prone to frequent heavy rain.
earlier related report
"We officially have ten people missing, based on reports of relatives ... who have approached authorities," said Pablo Puerta, spokesman for the Antioquia province Disaster Prevention and Assistance System (DAPARD).
A torrent of 100,000 cubic meters (3.5 million cubic feet) of earth swept onto a highway leading to the city of Medellin one week ago as people were getting off a bus in the town of Giraldo.
DAPARD chief John Rendon initially said authorities estimated between 20 and 30 people perished in the landslide. Six houses were also destroyed.
The government deployed 50 rescuers from fire departments, civil defense and Red Cross units, as well as sniffer dogs to help locate the victims.
Puerta on Sunday however said there is still a chance that there are more victims who have not been reported missing.
Government officials in Bogota on Sunday warned again of the danger of the heavy rain that is drenching the area and has killed 81 people and affected some 855,000 since March.
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