Jokowi visits cyclone-hit islands

People’s leader: Jokowi giving his jacket to a survivor while inspecting damage on Lembata island after torrential rains from Tropical Cyclone Seroja killed more than 200 people. — AFP

President Joko Widodo arrived in a cyclone-hit cluster of islands after the disaster killed more than 200 people, including victims in neighbouring Timor Leste, with dozens still missing.

Torrential rains from Tropical Cyclone Seroja, one of the most destructive storms to hit the region in years, turned small communities into wastelands of mud and uprooted trees, sending thousands fleeing to shelters amid widespread blackouts.

Widodo, better known by his nickname Jokowi, arrived in hard-hit Lembata island yesterday morning and was to visit several locations including evacuation shelters, the presidential palace said in a brief statement.

His visit came as the death toll from Sunday’s floods-and-landslide disaster rose again.

At least 165 people have been listed as dead in Indonesia.

Another 42 were killed in Timor Leste – a nation of 1.3 million sandwiched between Indonesia and Australia.

More than 50 people are still missing in the two South-East Asian nations, and disaster agency officials are still searching mountains of debris for bodies.

With thousands filling evacuation centres, authorities were scrambling to avoid a spread of Covid-19, and treat children affected by the disaster.

“We are starting to provide counselling services for traumatised kids, ” said Josef Nae Soi, vice-governor of disaster epicentre East Nusa Tenggara province.

Indonesian cargo planes and navy ships packed with aid have arrived in the region with more than 4,000 military personnel sent to help in the relief effort.

A hospital ship was also en route to help treat survivors in the region, where local medical clinics have been overwhelmed.

More than 20,000 people have been evacuated from disaster-struck communities and many have been left homeless by the storm.

The cyclone is now headed for Australia, where authorities urged holidaymakers to evacuate a stretch of the country’s west coast before it makes landfall late tomorrow or early Monday.

Fatal landslides and flash floods are common across the Indonesian archipelago during the rainy season, with deforestation often the cause, environmentalists say.

The disaster agency has estimated that 125 million Indonesians – nearly half of the country’s population – live in areas at risk of landslides. — AFP

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

Next In Aseanplus News

Asean News Headlines as at 8pm on Thursday (May 6)
Indonesia's Mount Sinabung erupts, ashes thrown 2,000 metres from peak
Thailand: Another daily 1,911 Covid-19 cases reported on Thursday (May 6) for 76,811-total; funeral services shortened due to Covid-19 deaths
Singapore says serious reactions to Covid-19 vaccinations rare; 18 virus cases - two in community reported on Thursday (May 6)
Indonesia detects 59 Covid-19 cases among international visitors from India; reports 5,647cases within one day to 1,697,305-total
Cambodia convicts five environmentalists over plan to march to PM's home
Vietnam extends quarantine for arrivals after new virus outbreak; reports 18 local new cases as total cases goes above 3,000
Indonesia deploys 400 battle-hardened troops to troubled Papua
Philippines' Duterte orders arrest of mask violators; govt announces 6,637 daily cases for a 1,080,172-total
Diplomatic missions to Myanmar underscore need for press freedom

Stories You'll Enjoy