BOHOROK - Dozens of flags fluttered Tuesday outside homes in this shattered resort town -- symbols of mourning for the latest victims of Indonesia's environmental destruction. At least 75 people including five foreigners were killed and 100 more are missing and feared dead after a flash flood blamed partly on severe deforestation swept through the riverbank resort in North Sumatra late Sunday.
The swollen river also carried down hundreds of sawn logs from the slopes of nearby Mount Leuser. They smashed scores of frail tin-roofed bamboo homes and resort cottages, as well as concrete structures. Langkat district chief Syamsul Arifin said the flood was caused by illegal logging inside the neighbouring Gunung Leuser national park and described it as a disaster waiting to happen.
The people of Bahorok, like millions of other Indonesians, are accustomed to annual rainy season floods -- worsened by the development of natural water catchment areas -- but nothing like this.