Flash floods, mudslides kill at least 50 in Indonesia’s Papua

Flash flood and mudslides triggered by days of torrential downpours tore through mountainside villages in Indonesia’s easternmost province, killing at least 50 people and wounding 59 others.
The disaster in Papua province’s Jayapura district submerged hundreds of houses in neck-high water and mud, National Disaster Mitigation Agency spokesperson Sutopo Purwo Nugroho said on Sunday.
The floods and slides also destroyed roads and bridges, hampering rescue efforts.
Nugroho said 50 bodies had been pulled from the mud and wreckage of crumpled homes by Sunday, and another 59 people were hospitalised, many with broken bones and head wounds. He said the number of dead and injured is likely to increase since many affected areas have not been reached.
The dead included three children who drowned after the floods began late on Saturday.
“We are overwhelmed by too many injuries,” said Haerul Lee, the head of Jayapura health office, adding that some medical facilities had been hit by power outages. “We can’t handle it alone.”
Sentani subdistrict was the worst hit in the disaster, where a landslide early on Sunday was followed minutes later by a river that burst its banks, sweeping away residents in a fast-moving deluge of water, heavy logs and debris, said the local disaster mitigation agency head Martono.
Papua’s provincial administration has declared a two-week emergency in order to get assistance from the central government.
Papua military spokesperson Colonel Muhammad Aidi said rescuers managed to save two injured infants who had been trapped for more than six hours.
The parents of one of the babies were washed away and died.
Martono said rescuers have been evacuating more than 4,000 to temporary shelters.
Television footage showed hundreds of rescuers and members of the police and military evacuating residents to shelters at a government office. Ambulances and vehicles were seen carrying victims on muddy roads to several clinics and hospitals.
Aljazeera

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