“There are 44 people killed and nine injured” in the eastern region of Flores and “many remain under the mud,” disaster management agency spokesman Raditya Jati told AFP. Hours earlier, the agency registered 23 dead, nine injured and two missing.
Torrential rains caused floods in several districts of Flores Island, where the majority of the population is Catholic, around 1am (2pm on Saturday, Brasília time), hours before the start of Holy Week celebrations.
Dozens of houses were covered in mud, while bridges and roads were destroyed in the eastern part of the island. The only way of access now is by sea, from the island of Adonara, “but the rains and the strong tide make crossing impossible,” Jati told AFP.
Extreme weather conditions are expected to continue throughout the week in the region. In addition, floods caused by heavy rains on Sunday affected the city of Bima, in the neighboring province of the western Sunda Islands (West Nusa Tenggara), and caused the death of two people, according to the agency.
Dams overflowed and submerged nearly 10,000 houses in Bima, after nine hours of rain, said Jati.
Landslides and flash floods are common in the Indonesian archipelago, especially during the rainy season. But environmentalists point to deforestation as a factor that favors stress disasters.
In January, 40 Indonesians died in floods that affected the city of Sumedang, in western Java. The national disaster management agency estimates that 125 million Indonesians, roughly half the population of the archipelago, live in areas at risk of landslides.
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