Floods, landslides kill dozens in Indonesia and East Timor


JAKARTA (Reuters) - Flash floods unleashed by torrential heavy rains early on Sunday killed 23 people on Indonesia's island of Flores, injuring nine while five went missing, as the tiny neighbouring nation of East Timor reported eight deaths.

At least 49 families were hit on Flores in the east of Indonesia's sprawling archipelago, said Raditya Jati, a spokesman for disaster management agency BNPB.

"Dozens of houses were buried in mud in Lamanele village... residents' houses (were) washed away by the flood," Raditya said in a statement, referring to the eastern part of the island.

A bridge collapsed on the island of Adonara further east, where rescuers were battling heavy rain, strong wind and waves, he added.

In neighbouring East Timor, eight people were killed in a landslide on the outskirts of the capital, Dili, state news agency Tatoli said.

"We are currently focusing on elderly victims, children and pregnant women to be taken to a safe place," it quoted Joaquim Gusmao, the state secretary for civil protection, as saying.

A two-year-old child was among the victims, a Reuters witness said. Civil protection officials could not immediately be reached for comment.

Power supplies were cut and the presidential palace was flooded as heavy rain and strong winds have lashed Dili since late on Saturday.

Social media posts showed collapsed buildings and vehicles submerged by flash floods.

More bitter weather threatens.

Indonesia’s weather agency said a tropical cyclone nearing the Savu Straits, between the southern part of Nusa Tenggara province and East Timor's north coast, could be packing yet more rain, waves and winds.

(Reporting by Tabita Diela, Nelson Da Cruz in Dili; Writing by Fathin Ungku; Editing by Clarence Fernandez)

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