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Indonesian flash floods kill 56, dozens missing

world Updated: Oct 06, 2010 07:33 IST

AFP
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At least 56 people were killed and 24 remain missing after flash floods in a remote region of Indonesia's West Papua province, a disaster management official said on Tuesday.

The floods were unleashed on Monday after torrential downpours that began late Sunday in West Papua's Teluk Wondama district.

"We just received information from local officials there that 56 people were killed and 24 people went missing," Dani Kismianto said.

He said 81 people were seriously injured and most of them had been flown to hospitals in neighbouring districts of Nabire and Manokwari.

"We reckon that the death toll will increase as the terrain conditions make it hard for the rescuers to reach them," he said adding that the affected areas are mountainous.

Officials said that communication lines had been cut off and roads to the affected areas were blocked by fallen trees.

Welfare Minister Agung Laksono, quoted by state news agency Antara, said that besides houses, the floods had damaged schools and bridges in the area.

But he was unable to confirm the number of people displaced.

Those killed had reportedly drowned and been swept away by the powerful waters along with uprooted trees, rocks and debris.

The country's weather agency said on Monday that most parts of the country were currently experiencing torrential rains, strong winds, high waves and flooding, the Jakarta Globe newspaper reported.

The agency's chief Sri Woro Harijono was quoted as saying that heavy rains are common at this time of year but "everything is stronger than normal."