Death toll may rise as rescuers reach isolated areas


Weather woes: Residents checking their damaged homes after a flood in Waiwerang, East Flores. — AFP

RESCUERS searched for dozens of people missing in remote islands of southeast Indonesia while expecting more casualties in the aftermath of a tropical cyclone that has killed at least 128.

Helicopters were deployed yesterday to aid the search for survivors among 72 people reported missing so far in the East Nusa Tenggara islands, where tropical cyclone Seroja brought strong winds and heavy rains that triggered flash floods and landslides.

An amateur video taken by a local official in Tanjung Batu village on Lembata island, home to the Mount Ile Lewotolok volcano, showed felled trees and large rocks of cold lava that had crushed homes after being dislodged by the cyclone.

Authorities said the death toll could rise as rescuers reach more isolated areas. Images from the region on Monday showed downed trees, choppy seas and wooden homes flattened by the storm and debris floating in muddy floodwater.At least 8,424 people were displaced, nearly 2,000 buildings including a hospital impacted and more than 100 homes heavily damaged by the cyclone, which had moved over the Indian Ocean by yesterday morning, headed towards northern Australia.

Weather agency head Dwikorita Karnawati said once-rare tropical cyclones were happening more often in Indonesia and climate change could be the reason.

“Seroja is the first time we’re seeing tremendous impact because it hit the land. It’s not common, ” she told a news conference.

In nearby West Nusa Tenggara province, authorities on Monday said two had died, while in neighbouring country Timor Leste, at least 27 have died.

Some residents of Lembata island may have been washed away by mud into the sea. The deputy head of the district, Thomas Ola Langoday, hoped help was on the way.

“We were only able to search on the seashore, not in the deeper area, because of lack of equipment, ” Langoday said by phone.Lembata suffered a volcano eruption last month, wiping out vegetation atop the mountain, which allowed hardened lava to slide towards 300 houses when the cyclone struck, he said.

Langoday feared many bodies were still buried under large rocks.

President Joko Widodo held a Cabinet meeting yesterday to speed up evacuation and relief efforts and the restoration of power.

“If we cannot reach there by road, I ask that we swiftly open the access by sea as well as by air, ” the president said, adding that extreme weather had hampered aid distribution. — Reuters

Article type: metered
User Type: anonymous web
User Status:
Campaign ID: 46
Cxense type: free
User access status: 3
   

Next In Aseanplus News

Indonesian travel startup is said to weigh US$2bil SPAC deal
Thailand considers releasing�50,000 inmates as Covid-19 hit prisons
Philippines cuts GDP growth outlook amid tough virus fight
Vietnam sees six-fold surge in cars imported from China
Report says Myanmar internet a 'virtual battlefield'
Coronavirus: Hong Kong within reach of ‘zero local infections’ goal, Carrie Lam says, as just one imported case confirmed
Toyota to halt production at two plants due to chip shortage
Emerging markets: Worries in Indonesia of a surge in cases after holidays as rupiah dips 1%; Taiwan shares surge nearly 5%
Thailand reports youngest victim among record tally of Covid-19 deaths
More than 15,000 people from Myanmar shelter in Indian border state - official

Stories You'll Enjoy


Vouchers