Flash floods kill at least 13 in North Sulawesi, Indonesia, 40,000 displaced
The number of death toll in flash floods and landslide in North Sulawesi province of eastern Indonesia rose to 13 on Thursday, with 2 people still missing and about 40,000 others fleeing to escape the catastrophe, an official said.
Consecutive days of heavy downpours have bloated four rivers and burst their banks in Manado city, the capital of the province, since Wednesday, submerging the city and sweeping cars and houses, said Sutopo Purwo Nugroho, spokesman of national disaster management and mitigation agency.
The rains also incurred landslides in Sangihe island of the province and buried several houses, said Sutopo. The disaster also left four bridges collapsed, he added. “Temporary data stipulates 13 dead, 2 missing and 40,000 others taking shelters to safe grounds,” Sutopo told Xinhua via phone. Beside Manado city, five others districts or cities in the province have been flooded, including Minahasa Utara, Tomohon, Minahasa, Minahasa Selatan, and Sangihe island, since Wednesday, he said. “Up to now (Thursday), there are no signs that the floods recede significantly,” an official in charge of the agency told Xinhua by phone. The low pressure from waters in southern Philippines triggers formation of intensive clouds in North Sulawesi that resulted in heavy downpours, said Sutopo.
Besides, the convergence of the impact of low pressure in North Australia that push cloud to enter North Sulawesi territory also factored, he added. Officials from the agency, police, soldiers and volunteers have been conducting evacuation, said Sutopo. Emergency relief aids, including foods, medicine, blankets, tents, rubber boats and others, have been sent to the affected areas, he said. Seasonal downpours have often incurred floods in Indonesia, a chain of 17,500 islands where over millions of people live in vulnerable flood plains that are near to rivers.