Floods, landslides in Indonesia as a result of rain, kill 19, with seven missing

Days of torrential rain have brought floods and landslides in Indonesia’s province of West Sumatra, forcing the evacuation of more than 70,000 people, while killing at least 19, with seven going missing, authorities said on Sunday.

The havoc since last Thursday in the provincial capital of Padang and eight other areas has damaged nearly 700 homes, scores of bridges and schools and 113 hectares (280 acres) of farmland.

Indonesia’s rescue agency is hunting for those missing, officials said, with 150 rescuers drafted into the effort, hampered by blocked roads following the landslides.

“Today’s search involves 150 personnel from various disaster agencies,” Abdul Malik, the chief of the provincial rescue team, said in a statement.

Those evacuated gathered in the nearest mosques, said Abdul Muhari, the spokesperson of Indonesia’s disaster agency BNPB, but no temporary shelters were set up. They received food, water and medicines, while others returned home as waters subsided.

Most areas in Padang are still flooded, Abdul added, with roads blocked by a landslide extending 50 meters (164 ft) in the area of Padang Pariaman.

With more rain expected in the next few days, the agency warned of further damage from floods and landslides.

Indonesia’s rainy season began in January with the BMKG meteorological agency forecasting a first-quarter peak, particularly on the islands of Java and Sumatra.

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