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15 killed in floods and landslides in Indonesia

Photo-AFP

Tragedy struck central Indonesia as landslides and flooding claimed the lives of at least 15 individuals, leaving dozens of houses destroyed and roads damaged, according to reports from the country's disaster agency on Saturday (May 4). The devastation unfolded in Luwu regency, located in South Sulawesi, when landslides ravaged the area shortly after 1:00 am local time on Friday.

Abdul Muhari, spokesperson for Indonesia's disaster mitigation agency (BNPB), conveyed the grim toll, stating, "A total of 14 residents died due to floods and landslides in Luwu regency, South Sulawesi province." The disaster, compounded by relentless rainfall, resulted in the serious damage of over 100 houses, with 42 homes completely swept away. Furthermore, essential infrastructure suffered, with four roads and a bridge bearing the brunt of the natural calamity.

In the wake of the disaster, the affected populace found refuge in mosques or with relatives, as over 100 individuals were evacuated from their homes. Authorities scrambled to assist more than 1,300 families grappling with the aftermath, aiming to relocate them to safer locations. However, the region's woes extended beyond Luwu, as another area in South Sulawesi province witnessed the loss of one life and injuries to two others due to flooding, as Abdul disclosed in a separate statement.

The recurring pattern of extreme weather events in Indonesia during the rainy season has exacerbated the vulnerability of communities to such calamities, a phenomenon often compounded by factors like deforestation. Torrential rains frequently trigger floods and landslides across the archipelago, with the March flash floods and landslides on Sumatra island claiming the lives of at least 30 individuals, with many more still unaccounted for.

Indonesia's susceptibility to natural disasters has been underscored by previous tragedies, such as the December landslide and flooding near Lake Toba on Sumatra, which resulted in the loss of lives and extensive property damage. Such events underscore the urgent need for effective disaster preparedness and mitigation strategies in the face of mounting challenges posed by climate change.

As Indonesia grapples with the aftermath of these catastrophic events, the nation confronts the harsh reality of an increasingly volatile climate, underscoring the imperative for concerted efforts to address the underlying causes and mitigate the impact on vulnerable communities.

May 4, 2024 10:27 a.m. 4420

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