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Jakarta Post

Death toll rises as heavy rains cause more flooding, landslides

  • Jon Afrizal, Syamsul Huda M. Suhari and Lita Aruperes

    The Jakarta Post

Jambi/Gorontalo/Manado   /   Fri, January 22, 2016   /  03:18 pm

Heavy downpours have continued to spread across the archipelago, triggering a landslide that killed at least three people in Jambi and North Sulawesi and floods that submerged hundreds of houses in Gorontalo.

A series of heavy rainfalls throughout Wednesday in Kerinci regency, Jambi, has triggered a landslide that buried three people alive in the hilly Sungai Air Sangkil area in East Air Hangat district.

The three victims, identified as Buyung, 42, Sardono, 24, and Wani, 37, worked as laborers on a farm in the area.

'€œThe three victims were on their way home on Wednesday when the landslide buried them,'€ East Air Hangat district chief Montes told reporters on Thursday.

As of Thursday, local authorities had only managed to recover the bodies of Buyung and Sardono.

'€œWe are still looking for the body of the third victim,'€ East Air Hangat Police chief First Insp. Iswanto said.

Another landslide triggered by heavy rainfalls in Manado, North Sulawesi, also killed 61-year-old Fredy Tengker on a farm near his house in Malalayang district on Thursday.

'€œI was delivering lunch for my brother when I found his body swept away by soil quite far from the farm,'€ the victim'€™s brother, Max Tengker, said.

Meanwhile in Gorontalo province, heavy rains poured in Gorontalo and North Gorontalo regencies from Wednesday evening to Thursday afternoon, triggering floods that inundated at least eight villages in the two neighboring regions.

Head of logistics at Gorontalo Disaster Mitigation Agency (BPBD), Tahir Laendeng, said floodwater and mud had inundated more than 200 houses in four villages in Gorontalo regency.

Tahir said his agency had set up two evacuation shelters to anticipate the continued impacts of the floods.

'€œWe have also prepared food supplies for flood victims,'€ he said.

In North Gorontalo, Nurdin, a local BPBD official, said floods had hit at least four villages in Sumalata district.

'€œHutakalo subdistrict is the worst affected area as floodwater there has inundated dozens of houses up to two meters deep. As of this [Thursday] afternoon, there is no sign that the floodwater will subside,'€
Nurdin said.

After experiencing a prolonged dry season last year, many parts of the country have welcomed the arrival of the rainy season over the past several weeks.

In late November, the Meteorology, Climatology and Geophysics Agency (BMKG) warned that several areas, including North Sumatra, West Sumatra, Bengkulu, Jambi and South Sumatra, would be prone to floods on account of heavy downpours. Meanwhile, other regions, including Bengkulu, Aceh, southern parts of West Java, parts of Central Java and West Nusa Tenggara, were said to be prone to landslides.

Last month, more than a dozen villagers in Lebong Tandai, North Bengkulu, were killed when a landslide triggered by a heavy rainfall hit the huts where they were sleeping.

Meanwhile in Kampar regency, Riau, a 10-year-old child died earlier this week after he was swept away by floods due to heavy downpours and an overflowing Kampar River.

The BMKG, however, has warned that heavy rainfall will continue to pour in many parts of the country for the rest of the week.

'€œRain with medium to high intensity will continue to spread across Gorontalo and North Gorontalo regencies starting on Thursday afternoon,'€ Gorontalo BMKG forecaster Fatuhri said.

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