Bangkok Desk, Jul 15 (efe-epa).- Flash floods on the Indonesian island of Sulawesi have killed at least 16 people, officials said Wednesday.
A further 23 people were missing due to floods that were triggered by torrential downpours on Monday evening which lasted into Tuesday, Makassar-based Search and Rescue Agency chief Mustari said, according to the official Antara news agency.
“Identification of four other bodies is still underway, while 10 injured survivors are being hospitalized at the Andi Djemma Public Hospital in Masamba Sub-district,” he told reporters.
Search and rescue operations to locate those missing were ongoing, Mustari added.
“Today, we continue our search efforts by coordinating with a joint team of rescuers from the local disaster mitigation agency,” he said.
The flash flood caused three local rivers to burst their banks, forcing the displacement of over 650 people, the Luwu Utara Disaster Mitigation Agency reported.
The floods destroyed some 156 homes, the Agency said, while dozens of vehicles were swept up in the damage.
Photos from the scene showed people wading through chest-high flood waters while others were clambering over the debris of wooden homes.
Flash floods have affected several areas across the archipelago over the past two weeks, with over 2,800 people left homeless in Central Kalimantan on the central island of Borneo, with areas of Aceh in western Indonesia also heavily affected by the unseasonal downpours.
On Monday, Lamandau district head reportedly said that the floods were among the worst to ever hit the area.
Residents have been evacuated from at risk areas to safer zones away from the overflowing rivers, which have cut off roads, hampering evacuations and rescue efforts.
Indonesia’s monsoon or rainy season usually falls between November and April, with the months between May and October normally bringing drier, more settled weather. EFE-EPA