At least 19 killed, 7 missing in flash floods in Indonesia

Disaster management agency says more than 80,000 people have fled to temporary government shelters.

Indonesia often experiences flash floods [Sutan Malik Kayo/AFP]

Flash floods and a landslide on Indonesia’s Sumatra island have left at least 19 people dead and seven others missing, officials have said.

Mud, rocks and uprooted trees rushed down a mountainside and engulfed villages in the Pesisir Selatan district of West Sumatra province late on Friday following torrential rains, Doni Yusrizal, who heads the local disaster management agency, said on Sunday.

Yusrizal said rescuers recovered seven bodies in the village of Koto XI Tarusan and three others in two neighbouring villages.

“Relief efforts for the dead and missing were hampered by power outages, blocked roads covered in thick mud and debris,” Yusrizal said.

Indonesia’s National Disaster Management Agency said six bodies were found in Pesisir Selatan and three bodies were found in the neighbouring district of Padang Pariaman, bringing the death toll so far to 19.

The agency said at least two villagers were injured and seven others were still missing, with more than 80,000 people fleeing to temporary government shelters.

Flash floods and landslides are a common occurrence in Indonesia, where millions of people live near floodplains, especially during the rainy season.

In December, at least two people were killed when a landslide and floods swept away dozens of houses and destroyed a hotel near Lake Toba on Sumatra.

Source: News Agencies, The Associated Press