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News > World

Indonesia Flash Flood Death Toll Rises to 89, 74 Still Missing

  • Rescue workers during the clean up of flash floods in Indonesia. March 19, 2019

    Rescue workers during the clean up of flash floods in Indonesia. March 19, 2019 | Photo: BASARNAS

Published 19 March 2019

Flash floods hit the city of Sentani and surrounding areas Saturday. Authories warn landslides could continue due to major deforestation in the mountainous area.

As many as 89 people are now reported dead, according to Indonesian authorities, after a devastating flash flood hit the country’s easternmost province of Papua over the weekend. Another 74 are missing and 159 people have been injured by landslides amidst heavy rains, according to a tweet from Sutopo Purwo Nugroho, spokesperson for Indonesia's National Disaster Management Agency (BNPB).

 Indonesia Flash Floods Kill 50, Death Toll Expected To Rise

"The death toll continues to grow due to … the disaster,” Nugroho said in a statement.

Over 6,800 people were evacuated and 350 homes were damaged because of the storms and major infrastructure was also ruined or damaged, said Nugroho over Twitter. The vast majority of deaths and destruction took place in the city of Sentani near the Pacific Ocean coast.

The death toll rose quickly on Sunday as some waters receeded and rescuers were able to clear at least some debris left by the floods. More than 1,600 rescue workers from 23 government agencies and civil organizations are still working to clear buildings, trees and heavy mud in search of those unaccounted for.

"The search continues,” said head of Jayapura Search and Relief Office, Putu Arga Sujarwadi, in an online statement.

As of Tuesday (3/19/2019) morning, victims of the Sentani flash flood in Jayapura Papua 89 people were killed, 74 people are missing, 159 people were injured, 6,831 people were displaced, 11,725 families were affected, 350 houses were severely damaged, 3 bridges were seriously damaged , 4 roads were severely damaged, 2 churches were severely damaged, etc.

President Joko Widodo called for urgent evacuation of victims. "What is most important is handling the evacuation," said the head of state in a statement posted on Instagram. The BNPB said the emergency response will continue until at least March 30.

In Sentani, 15 shelters have been established to help those currently without a home, but the emergency residencies are in urgent need of basic supplies such as food, blankets and clothing, says EFE News.

Nugroho has warned authorities in Sentani to be careful of further mudslides as the area surrounding the city are mountainous and heavily deforested.

Floods and landslides affect Indonesia each year during the rainy season that peaks between December and February.

A March 17 earthquake in the country has also left two people dead and over 50 injured.​​​​​​​

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