Floods, landslides kill 26 in Indonesia, at least six missing

By Thomson Reuters Mar 11, 2024 | 6:48 AM

By Tri Iswanto

PADANG, Indonesia (Reuters) – Flooding and landslides in the Indonesian province of West Sumatra have killed 26 people and at least six are missing, authorities said on Monday.

Bridges, schools, 113 hectares (280 acres) of farmland and nearly 700 homes have been damaged by torrential rains that have pounded down since Thursday, according to the country’s disaster mitigation agency (BNPB).

Footage from the affected region showed homes and stores damaged by the inundation, and sections of muddy road that had collapsed into an adjacent river, or strewn with fallen trees.

The BNPB’s chief arrived in the provincial capital of Padang on Monday to lead coordination and evaluation efforts as well as distribute emergency relief funds.

At least 39,000 people have been affected by floods and landslides in the region, with 26 killed, and 11 still missing, the BNPB said in a statement on Monday.

Abdul Malik, the West Sumatra provincial head of Indonesia’s search and rescue agency, put the number of missing at six and said it had resumed efforts on Monday to find them.

Five hundred packages of aid including tents, blankets, water purifiers, food and hygiene kits were also being distributed, he said.

With more rain expected, the agency has warned of possible further damage from floods and landslides.

Indonesia’s rainy season began in January with the BMKG meteorological agency forecasting a first-quarter peak, particularly on the islands of Java and Sumatra.

(Writing by Kate Lamb; editing by Bernadette Baum and Mark Heinrich)