May 22, 2024

PADANG, Indonesia (AP) — Rescuers recovered more bodies as waters began to recede after flash floods and landslides caused by torrential rains on Indonesia’s Sumatra island, which have killed at least 26 people and left 11 missing, officials said Monday.

Monsoon rains and rising rivers have submerged nine districts and cities in West Sumatra province since Thursday. Late Friday, a major mudslide caused a river to breach its banks and tear through mountainside villages in Pesisir Selatan district.

Relief efforts for have been hampered by power outages, damaged bridges and roads blocked by thick mud and debris, the National Disaster Management Agency said.

Agency spokesperson Abdul Muhari said rescuers recovered more bodies, mostly in the worst-hit villages in Pesisir Selatan and its neighboring Padang Pariaman district, bringing the death toll rose to 26.

Landslides buried at least 14 houses, he said. At least two villagers were injured and rescuers were still searching for 11 people reportedly missing.

Monsoon rains in West Sumatra province have submerged more than 37,000 houses and buildings, Muhari said. At least three houses were swept away by flash floods and 666 others were damaged.

Floods also damaged 26 bridges, 45 mosques and 25 schools; and destroyed 13 roads, two irrigation system units, which in turn submerged 113 hectares (279 acres) of rice fields and 300 square meters (3,220 square feet) of plantation, the agency said.

Heavy rains cause frequent landslides and flash floods in Indonesia, an archipelago nation of more than 17,000 islands where millions of people live in mountainous areas or near floodplains.

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