Indonesia floods recede; at least 100 dead
Provincial spokesman Hamid Zegin said the water was receding but some areas remained largely cut-off.india Updated: Dec 26, 2006 15:12 IST
Deadly floodwaters in north-western Indonesia have begun to recede but authorities on Tuesday said at least 100 people had been killed and they were searching remote areas for up to 200 people still missing.
Floods and subsequent landslides have killed at least 100 people in Aceh and North Sumatra provinces, with tens of thousands forced to flee their homes for higher ground, local officials said.
In Aceh, still reeling from the devastating tsunami two years ago that left about 170,000 dead or missing in the impoverished province, the death toll rose to 69.
Another 31 have died in neighbouring North Sumatra, including 22 people killed in a landslide in Muara Sipongi district after getting approval to return home following an earthquake last week.
"Today we are continuing to search for victims. There are 200 people reported missing," Syahbuddin Usman, head of Aceh's hard-hit Tamiang district, said by telephone.
Washed out bridges, impassable roads, and no communications in some areas meant it was impossible to know whether the missing were dead or simply unable to alert family or the authorities that they had survived.
Provincial spokesman Hamid Zegin said the water was receding but some areas remained largely cut-off.
Authorities were using lorries and helicopters to deliver food, medicine and other relief supplies, he said.
Authorities have blamed heavy rains and the effects of deforestation for the destruction.
Lack of adequate forest cover leaves the ground less able to absorb excess water.