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Indonesian flash floods kill 56, dozens missing: official

Bodies unclaimed as Indonesia flood toll rises
Wasior, Indonesia (AFP) Oct 6, 2010 - The remote Indonesian town of Wasior was a scene of devastation Wednesday, with bodies lying unclaimed in the debris caused by flash floods that killed at least 86 people and left dozens missing. The seaside town's Sanduay neighbourhood was all but flattened when a wall of mud, rocks and logs hit it on Monday. An AFP reporter who reached the area, 240 kilometres (150 miles) southeast of Manokwari, West Papua province, said hundreds of homes had been destroyed. Military personnel joined residents and disaster response teams in the search for survivors but officials said the death toll is almost certain to rise.

Several bodies could be seen wedged beneath rocks and logs that were washed into the town from surrounding hillsides. Some of the logs -- felled by timber workers in nearby forests -- were two metres (seven feet) wide and left a trail of destruction as they were swept through the town by the raging flood waters. "Earlier Monday morning there were sudden floods but on a small scale. But 30 minutes later I heard a kind of big thunder and I saw powerful waters coming from the mountain," 50-year-old resident Wilem Imburi told AFP. "There was chaos and people panicked and tried to run to safety." Father-of-two Mahmud, 36, said he managed to hold on to his son but lost his two-year-old daughter. "I was holding my two kids when the waters came, but I didn't have enough strength and lost grip of my daughter," he said.

The flood carried him and his four-year-old son into the sea about 500 metres (yards) away from his home. Papua search and rescue official Mochamad Arifin said at least 86 people were killed and 81 were injured in the disaster. "We are still searching for dozens of missing people," he said. "The chance of survival for the missing people is slim." Disaster Management Centre official Harce Robert said around 70 people were listed as missing. Collapsed roads and bridges were hampering rescue efforts, he added. Experts fear such events will become more common in Indonesia due to a combination of climate change, land conversion and logging, which can contribute to landslides and flash floods after monsoonal downpours. Indonesia's climatology agency said most parts of the Southeast Asian archipelago had experienced torrential rains, strong winds, high waves and flooding due to extreme weather this year.
by Staff Writers
Jakarta (AFP) Oct 5, 2010
At least 56 people were killed and 24 remain missing after flash floods in a remote region of Indonesia's West Papua province, a disaster management official said Tuesday.

The floods were unleashed on Monday after torrential downpours that began late Sunday in West Papua's Teluk Wondama district.

"We just received information from local officials there that 56 people were killed and 24 people went missing," Dani Kismianto told AFP.

He said 81 people were seriously injured and most of them had been flown to hospitals in neighbouring districts of Nabire and Manokwari.

"We reckon that the death toll will increase as the terrain conditions make it hard for the rescuers to reach them," he said adding that the affected areas are mountainous.

Officials said that communication lines had been cut off and roads to the affected areas were blocked by fallen trees.

Welfare Minister Agung Laksono, quoted by state news agency Antara, said that besides houses, the floods had damaged schools and bridges in the area.

But he was unable to confirm the number of people displaced.

Those killed had reportedly drowned and been swept away by the powerful waters along with uprooted trees, rocks and debris.

The country's weather agency said on Monday that most parts of the country were currently experiencing torrential rains, strong winds, high waves and flooding, the Jakarta Globe newspaper reported.

The agency's chief Sri Woro Harijono was quoted as saying that heavy rains are common at this time of year but "everything is stronger than normal."

earlier related report
Thirteen killed in Vietnam floods: government
Hanoi (AFP) Oct 5, 2010 - At least 13 people have been killed and five others were reported missing in flood-hit Vietnam, a government body said Tuesday.

Many of the victims in the nine affected provinces were swept away by the flood waters, according to the national flood and storm control department in Hanoi.

Since Friday, 130 centimetres (50 inches) of rain have inundated 62,000 houses between northern Thanh Hoa province and the central-region city of Danang, it said.

More than 900 soldiers and militia members had been mobilised to help evacuate 34,500 people to safer areas, the flood and storm agency said.

State-run TV showed pictures of one-storey houses flooded to their rooftops while electricity poles and trees were seen uprooted in towns.

"We have rescued thousands of people," Luong Ngoc Binh, Communist Party chief of hard-hit Quang Binh province, said on state television. "We ought to be able to rescue everyone in peril on Tuesday."

The national broadcaster reported that army helicopters were being dispatched to bring food and other aid to devastated areas.

Weather forecasters said that while the rains had eased, water levels of rivers in flooded areas were still rising to alarming levels.

The state Vietnam News reported that a hydroelectric dam in Ha Tinh province was in danger of being breached.

It also said landslides and heavy downpours blocked roads, including Highway 9 which is part of a key east-west economic corridor for the Mekong region.

More than 1,000 hectares (2,500 acres) of crops in Thua Thien-Hue province were swept away and hundreds of hectares of fish farms flooded, it said.

Vietnam is frequently hit by tropical storms and flooding at this time of the year.

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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 bu ... read more

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