Death Toll from Cold Lava Floods in Indonesia Rises

Death Toll from Cold Lava Floods in Indonesia Rises

JAKARTA: A total of 52 people have been found dead and 17 are reported missing after cold lava floods destroyed homes, buildings, and public facilities in West Sumatra, Indonesia, said a senior local disaster agency official on Tuesday.

The search operation for missing persons resumed on Tuesday following the addition of heavy machinery to the site to aid the operation, said Ilham Wahab, head of the recovery and reconstruction unit of the provincial disaster management and mitigation agency.

“The number of bodies found is now 52, and the number of missing persons is 17. These numbers will continue to change as people keep reporting their missing family members,” he told Xinhua by phone.

Wahab stated that the ongoing emergency relief efforts would be followed by reconstruction and rehabilitation programs.

Experts will be involved to assess whether residents living in hazardous areas, such as riverbanks near the slopes of the Marapi and Singgalang volcanoes, which continue to erupt and release volcanic materials, need to be relocated, he added.

According to Lieutenant General Suharyanto, head of Indonesia’s National Disaster Management Agency (BNPB), the natural disaster forced over 3,000 people to flee and seek refuge in safer areas.

“Repairing damaged roads is a priority in the relief efforts,” he said in a brief message, adding that the basic needs of the flood-affected residents will be met.

Heavy rains on Saturday night caused rivers to overflow, affecting the districts of Agam, Tanah Datar, Pariaman, and the town of Padang Panjang.

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