Jakarta, Indonesia (AP) — Multiple disasters caused by torrential rains in eastern Indonesia have killed at least 55 people and evacuated thousands, Indonesia’s disaster relief agency said Monday. Over 40 other people were missing.
The mud fell from the surrounding hills to dozens of homes in the village of Ramenere shortly after midnight on the island of Adonara in East Nusa Tenggara. Rescue teams recovered 38 bodies and injured at least five, said Lenny Ora, who heads a local disaster agency.
Flash floods have killed at least 17 people elsewhere and left at least 42 missing, according to the National Disaster Mitigation Agency. Rescue efforts were hampered by power outages, blockades of roads covered with thick mud and debris, and remote islands surrounded by rugged waters and high waves, official spokesman Raditia Jati said.
According to Ora, the bodies of three people were recovered after a flood in the village of Oyanbayan destroyed 40 homes. Hundreds of people fled the submerged homes, some of which were carried away by the floods.
In another village, Waibrak, three people were killed and seven were missing as a river ruptured the embankment and sent muddy water to large areas of the East Flores district, according to Ora. .. Four injured were being treated at a local clinic.
By Monday morning, 55 people had died after the rain caused cold lava to roll down the slopes of Iri Lewotrok volcano and hit several villages, according to Jati.
The disaster on Lembata Island killed at least 11 people, but at least 16 were still buried under a lot of cold lava, Jati said. Lava was left behind after the volcano erupted in November.
Jati said at a news conference that by the end of Sunday, hundreds of people were still involved in the rescue operation. He said at least six villages were affected by flash floods and landslides that cut five bridges on the island.
Photos released by authorities show rescuers, police and military personnel taking residents to shelters.
Authorities are still collecting full information on casualties and damage in the affected areas, Jati said. Serious floods have also been reported in the neighboring town of Bima, West Nusa Tengala, forcing nearly 10,000 people to flee.
In Indonesia, an archipelago of 17,000 islands with millions of people living near mountainous areas and fertile floodplains, seasonal rains frequently cause floods and landslides.