Flash floods and landslides have killed at least 16 people and displaced hundreds in the Indonesian island of Sulawesi, according to officials, as rescuers continued the search for 23 missing people
The flooding, which was triggered by heavy rains that caused three rivers to overflow, began on Monday evening and has since affected more than 4,000 residents of six subdistricts in North Luwu.
Raditya Jati, spokesman for the National Disaster Mitigation Agency, said on Wednesday that mud covering the main road into North Luwu district had blocked access to affected areas.
“The latest update from National Search and Rescue Agency 16 people dead and we are looking for 23 people,” Jati said.
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.
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.
In January, flooding killed 66 people in the capital, Jakarta, amid some of the heaviest rain since records began.