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Floods leave over 80 dead in Sumatra BANDA ACEH - Severe flooding swept through three different provinces on the Indonesian island of Sumatra, leaving more than 80 people dead or missing and more than 200,000 villagers homeless, volunteers and news reports said Sunday. In Aceh province on the northern end of Sumatra, at least 65 people were either killed or missing in heavy flooding that swept through seven districts, said Gufron, a volunteer from the Prosperuos and Justice Party's local chapter.

'We have so far received reports of 60 people killed in the heavy flooding here in Tamiang district,' Gufron, who like many Indonesians goes only by one name, told Deutsche Presse-Agentur dpa. He feared the death toll to rise further as 'there were still scores of villagers' who have been reported as missing in the flood, which swept through dozens of villages, with waters rising as high as the roof in some places.

24 December 2006: A hand out picture released by the Aceh and Nias Rehabilitation and Reconstruction Agency (BRR) shows an aerial view of flooded houses in Aceh Tamiang, East Aceh. The death toll from devastating floods in North Sumatra and East Aceh has jumped from 15 to at least 60, with hundreds of other people still missing, local officials said today. Heavy rains have unleashed floods across Sumatra island, forcing thousands to flee their homes.
24 December 2006: A hand out picture released by the Aceh and Nias Rehabilitation and Reconstruction Agency (BRR) shows an aerial view of flooded houses in Aceh Tamiang, East Aceh. The death toll from devastating floods in North Sumatra and East Aceh has jumped from 15 to at least 60, with hundreds of other people still missing, local officials said today. Heavy rains have unleashed floods across Sumatra island, forcing thousands to flee their homes.
Meanwhile, a report by the state-run Antara news agency quoted local residents as putting the death toll at 114 with hundreds of others still missing and feared drowned. However, the report could not be immediately verified from local government officials. Aceh governor Mustafa Abubakar admitted the flooding was the orst to hit the province, but he put the death toll at only 14, with a number of other people remaining unaccounted for.

More than 190,000 residents sought refuge at temporary shelters across Aceh, government officials said, explaining that about 150,000 villagers were evacuated from the worst-hit Tamiang district. 'Fourteen people have died so far from the flooding in Tamiang district,' Rusli Wahid, an official from the social affairs ministry told Jakarta's Elshinta private radio from Aceh, about 1,580 kilometres north-west of Jakarta.

He said one more person died in North Aceh district and four others were missing and feared drowned, while hundreds of houses were washed away or damaged by the flooding. According to Nurdin F Jos, spokesman for the Aceh's provincial administration, whole villages were under water and people seeking refuge on rooftops hadn't eaten for two days.

'The regency's capital, Kuala Simpang, is isolated and only accessible by boat,' Jos said. 'Tamiang is the most affected by the flood.' He added that the torrential rains had also triggered several landslides, burying alive at least five people in Gayo Luwes district. Antara also reported that the flooding had cut off land transportation between Aceh and North Sumatra province as floodwaters swept away a number of bridges.

Jos described the flooding as yet another disaster to hit Aceh after the province was struck by the December 2004 quake-triggered tsunami which devastated tens of thousands of homes and left around 170,000 people dead or missing. In adjacent North Sumatra province, days of heavy downpours caused rivers in the province to overflow their banks, submerging thousands of homes in 12 sub-districts of Langkat regency.

In addition to the eight people dead, the floods also left 12 other villagers missing and feared drowned, and forced more than 17,000 residents to flee their homes. Langkat district chief Syamsul Arifin said the floods were the worst in 40 years. Rain-triggered floods also swept Riau province in eastern Sumatra, inundating tens of thousands of homes throughout six district areas, reports said.

Vice President Jusuf Kalla blamed flooding and landslides - and long droughts during the dry season - on the destruction of the country's forests. Environmentalists have also laid blame on the massive deforestation from illegal logging in several Indonesian regions. Landslides and flash floods swept through several villages in crowded Central and East Java provinces early this year, killing more than 120 people and injuring dozens of others. Hundreds of homes were destroyed and thousands of villagers left homeless.


Related blog entry (category 'Flooding') Related blog entry (category 'Flooding'):
24 December 2006 · Floods kill more than 70 on Sumatra island


Posted in Flooding @ 24 December 2006 14:17 CET by Jeroen · 'Blog' RSS feed · permalink






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