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107 killed in Indonesia’s flash floods, 93 still missing

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The death toll from flash floods and landslides in the Papua Province of eastern Indonesia has exceeded 107 by Wednesday, an official and rescuers said.

File: Flooding

Meanwhile, the search for 93 missing others is focusing on residential areas buried by mud, rubble and wooden logs.

Dodi Sambodo, Spokesman of joint command post for emergency relief efforts at the province, said that the natural disaster, which hit Jayapura district at the weekend, left 84 people seriously injured and 75 others with minor injuries.

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The spokesman said that the disaster also forced 9,691 people to flee their homes and take shelters at 20 evacuation centers, of which most were government office buildings.

“Rains keep pouring down; having shelters in buildings is favourable in this situation rather than tents.

“We plan to trim the number of the centres to six, in order to pave distribution of aids,’’ he told Xinhua on phone from Jayapura district.

“Meanwhile rescuers are searching for victims at residential areas where many houses were buried by mud, wooden logs and rubble.

“We believed many victims were buried under the mud, ruble and logs as we have retrieved several bodies from the areas,’’ Yudi Yanto, spokesman of the search and rescue office, said.

Yanto further said the search operation would be carried out at the entrance of a river to the Sentani Lake, as many victims were swept away by the current of the river.

According to the national disaster management agency, the disaster also destroyed 357 houses, over 100 buildings, four bridges, eight school buildings, five religious buildings and other infrastructure facilities.

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Flash floods have been frequent in the remote Papua province but the one on Saturday was among the worst.

According to the agency, deforestation at the upstream area of a river was blamed as one of the triggers of the catastrophe.

Governor of Papua, Lukas Enembe, said that deforestation at the upstream of rivers would be prohibited.

Report says Indonesian environment ministry plans to conduct reclamation and reforestation in the areas to prevent recurrence of such disaster.

Indonesia has been frequently stricken by flash floods, floods and landslides during heavy rains.

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