12 Missing After Heavy Rain Triggers Landslide, Flash Floods in Indonesia

Sat Dec 02 2023
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MEDAN, Indonesia: Flash floods and a landslide, triggered by torrential rain, swept through Indonesia’s Sumatra Island, resulting in at least 12 individuals being reported missing, according to officials on Saturday.

Budiono, leading the local search and rescue agency, described how masses of mud, rocks, and trees cascaded down from a mountain late Friday, causing a river to overflow and ravage villages along the mountainside.

The village most severely impacted was Simangulampe, situated near the popular Lake Toba in North Sumatra province. Budiono, adopting a single name as customary in Indonesia, highlighted the village’s situation, mentioning people trapped under tons of mud and damaged houses in the aftermath.

On Saturday, he mentioned that the rescue operations faced hindrances due to impassable roads layered with dense mud, debris, and large rocks, while also continuing the search for the 12 individuals who remained missing.

Abdul Muhari, spokesperson for the National Disaster Management Agency, reported that following a landslide, a villager sustained severe injuries and was promptly taken to a nearby hospital. The calamity ravaged at least 12 houses, a church, a school, and a hotel, compelling approximately 50 families from the village to seek refuge in a temporary government shelter.

Images provided by the agency displayed the wreckage of homes, as well as the church, school, and hotel buried under masses of rock.

Muhari mentioned that authorities were still in the process of gathering information regarding the extent of the damage and potential casualties.

Indonesia, an archipelago of 17,000 islands, experiences frequent flooding and landslides due to seasonal rains between October and March. Millions of residents inhabit mountainous regions or reside close to fertile floodplains.

Lake Toba, spanning 1,145 square kilometers (440 square miles) and formed from an ancient super volcano, stands as a popular tourist destination on Sumatra Island. It’s one among Indonesia’s 10 breathtaking natural attractions that the government aims to develop further to attract international tourists.

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