At least 27 die in flash floods and landslips across Sumatra
Torrential rain triggered flash floods and landslides on the Indonesian island of Sumatra, killing at least 27 people including a dozen children at a school, officials said last night.
A flash flood with mud and debris from landslides swept into Mandailing Natal district in North Sumatra province and smashed an Islamic school in Muara Saladi village.
There 29 children were swept away on Friday afternoon, the local police chief Irsan Sinuhaji said.
Mr Sinuhaji said rescuers retrieved the bodies of 11 children from mud and rubble hours later.
The National Disaster Mitigation Agency’s spokesman, Sutopo Purwo Nugroho, said rescuers and villagers saved 17 other children and several teachers on Friday, and yesterday pulled out the body of a child near Aek Saladi river, close to the school.
A video showed relatives crying besides the bodies of their loved ones at a health clinic.
Mr Nugroho said two bodies were found early yesterday from a car washed away by floods in Mandailing Natal, where 17 houses collapsed and 12 were swept away. Hundreds of other homes were flooded up to two metres tall.
Four villagers were killed after landslides hit 29 houses and flooded about 100 buildings in neighbouring Sibolga district, Mr Nugroho said.
He said flash floods also smashed into several villages in West Sumatra province’s Tanah Datar district, killing five people including two children, and left another missing.
Landslides and flooding in the neighbouring districts of Padang Pariaman and West Pasaman killed four villagers after 500 houses flooded and three bridges collapsed.
North and West Sumatra provinces declared a weeklong emergency relief period as hundreds of survivors fled their hillside homes to safer ground, fearing more of the mountainside would collapse.
Seasonal downpours cause frequent landslides and floods each year in Indonesia, a chain of 17,000 islands where millions of people live in mountainous areas or near flood plains.