Indonesia flood, landslide death toll rises to 26

Flash flooding and landslides have devastated Indonesia killing 30, a disaster agency official said Thursday, as rescuers race to find still-missing victims.

Thousands have been evacuated from their homes as heavy rain and strong winds pounded the southern part of Sulawesi island, swelling rivers that burst their banks and inundating dozens of communities in nine southern districts.

An overflowing dam has added to the death toll and forced thousands to flee their villages.

Parts of the provincial capital Makassar have also been affected, with rescue efforts working throughout the night.

“As of this morning, 26 people are confirmed to have died and 24 others are missing,” said Syamsibar, the head of the local disaster mitigation agency, who like many Indonesians goes by one name.

More than 3,000 people have been evacuated and at least 46 are being treated at local hospitals and health clinics.

The floods also damaged houses, government buildings, schools and bridges.

“The search and rescue teams are still looking for missing victims and evacuating people whose homes were inundated by the flooding,” Syamsibar said.

Landslides and flooding are common in Indonesia, especially during the monsoon season between October and April, when rain lashes the vast tropical archipelago.

Last year the popular tourist country was devastated by several earthquakes and Tsunami’s killing thousands of people. The country is still rebuilding from the damage and destruction caused last year.

In October, flash floods and landslides killed at least 22 people in several districts across Sumatra island.

Indonesia is an archipelago of over 17,000 islands and frequently suffers from natural disasters.

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