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South Sulawesi flood death toll hits 200 JAKARTA - The death toll climbed to 200 after flash floods and landslides swept through villages in the eastern Indonesian province of South Sulawesi, and left more than 130 others missing, officials said Thursday. 'The latest reports we've gotten from the field now show the death toll reached 200,' said Yustin, an official at the disaster task force, told Deutsche Presse-Agentur dpa from the provincial capital of Makassar, about 1,400 kilometres northeast of Jakarta.

Yustin, who like many Indonesians uses only one name, said 184 of the deaths came from Sinjai district alone, the most-devastated area, while 16 other deaths were from five other different districts of South Sulawesi. At least 133 residents were reported still missing and feared dead, while the floods and landslides also left more than 7,000 homeless. They were being evacuated to makeshift shelters.

Andi Rudyanto Asapa, chief of the worst-hit Sinjai district, said the death toll would increase as dozens of others were still reported missing. 'There are many residents still missing, who were either swept away or have been buried alive under the mudslides,' Asapa told dpa. About 30 homes in five different villages were buried under tons of soil, he said, adding that the disaster swept the region when locals were asleep. Dozens of people were presumed to have been buried alive under their flattened houses.

The early Tuesday flash flood, triggered by heavy rains since Monday, inundated or heavily damaged hundreds of houses in seven districts in the province, officials said. Asapa said rescue workers, including soldiers, police and civilians, have been searching the affected areas for bodies and digging into piles of mud from landslides to look for possible survivors. But the roads have been buried by landslides, hampering their work, and additional heavy equipment is needed to reopen them.

The floods also swept away hundreds of houses, inundated thousands of hectares of fields, destroyed six bridges, and cut power and telephone communications to the affected regions, other officials said. Vice President Jusuf Kalla said he believes deforestation was the cause of the extreme flooding in South Sulawesi province, and urged an investigation into claims that the flooding may have been caused by illegal logging.

'I think there had been deforestation at Mount Bawahkaraeng. As the flood came so unexpectedly it is an indication that the condition of the forests there was no longer good,' the state-run Antara news agency quoted Kalla as saying. The floods are the latest calamity to hit the vast archipelago nation during this year's rainy season.

In early January, landslides and flash floods swept through several villages in Central and East Java provinces, killing more than 120 people and injuring dozens of others. Hundreds of dwellings were destroyed and thousands of villagers forced from their homes.

21 June 2006: Residents walk through a flooded road in Sinjai district, South Sulawesi, after massive flooding hit the area and killed 65 people until now.
21 June 2006: Residents walk through a flooded road in Sinjai district, South Sulawesi, after massive flooding hit the area and killed 65 people until now.



Related blog entries (category 'Flooding') Related blog entries (category 'Flooding'):
22 June 2006 · Landslides and floods kill 188 in South Sulawesi
21 June 2006 · South Sulawesi floods: 65 killed
20 June 2006 · 36 dead in South Sulawesi floods


Posted in Flooding @ 22 June 2006 17:04 CET by Jeroen · 'Blog' RSS feed · permalink






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