July 15, 2020 / 4:49 AM / 22 days ago

Flash floods kill at least 16, displace hundreds in Indonesia

Officers evacuate victims in Radda Village, following flash floods that left several dead and dozens remain missing, in North Luwu in Sulawesi, Indonesia July 14, 2020. Antara Foto/Indra/ via REUTERS

JAKARTA (Reuters) - Flash floods and landslides have killed at least 16 people and displaced hundreds in a district on the Indonesian island of Sulawesi, officials at the country’s disaster mitigation agency said on Wednesday.

Search and rescue officials were still looking for 23 people missing after the floods struck the North Luwu district of South Sulawesi province, said Raditya Jati, a spokesman for the national disaster mitigation agency.

In one village, photographs showed a damaged house and a truck partially submerged under thick mud, while a runway at a local airport was also swamped by mud and debris.

“I hope we will be united in our recovery efforts,” Nurdin Abdullah, the governor of South Sulawesi, said on Kompas TV.

Heavy rains had inundated three nearby rivers for several days prompting the evacuation of 655 people due to the floods, officials at the local disaster mitigation agency and search and rescue agency told Reuters.

Indonesia frequently suffers from floods and landslides particularly during the rainy season, though the situation is often made worse by the cutting down of forests.

Flooding also killed 66 people in the Indonesian capital Jakarta in January, amid some of the heaviest rain since records began.

Reporting by Stanley Widianto and Agustinus Beo Da Costa; Editing by Ed Davies

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