Home Neighbours Indonesia: Toll In Flash Floods, Mudslides Mounts, Many Missing

Indonesia: Toll In Flash Floods, Mudslides Mounts, Many Missing


Flash floods and mudslides in Indonesia’s West Sumatra province have claimed at least 43 lives over the weekend, with 15 people still missing, according to authorities on Monday.

The torrential rain that began on Saturday evening triggered a series of natural disasters, including flash floods, landslides, and cold lava flow—a mud-like mixture of volcanic ash, rock debris, and water—in three districts of West Sumatra, reported Abdul Malik, the chief of the provincial rescue team.

The cold lava flow, known locally as lahar, originated from Mount Marapi, one of Sumatra’s most active volcanoes. In December, over 20 people were killed following an eruption from Marapi, which has continued to erupt intermittently since then.

“The heavy rain swept materials such as ash and large rocks from the Marapi volcano,” stated Abdul Malik. He confirmed that 43 people had died and 15 were still missing. “Cold lava flow and flash floods have always been threats to us recently. But the problem is, it always happens late at night until dawn.”

Abdul Malik reported that around 400 personnel, including rescuers, police, and military, were deployed on Monday to search for the missing individuals, using at least eight excavators and drones.

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The National Disaster Management Agency (BNPB) reported that nearly 200 houses were damaged and 72 hectares (178 acres) of land, including rice fields, were affected. At least 159 people from Agam district were evacuated to nearby schools.

Footage shared by BNPB depicted roads and rice fields buried under mud. The videos also showed the wreckage of homes and buildings, with logs and large rocks strewn across settlements due to the floods.

Eko Widodo, a 43-year-old survivor, described the chaos: “The flooding was sudden, and the river became blocked, which resulted in the flow of water everywhere and it was out of control.”

With Inputs From Reuters