Accessibility links

Thousands of Indonesians Flee Flooded Area


Rescue workers are still searching for survivors in northern Sumatra after deadly flash floods swept the through the area. Heavy seasonal rain and rising waters over the weekend killed at least 100 people and forced more than 400,000 people from their homes in the western Indonesian province. In Malaysia, sudden heavy flooding has also created havoc, with at least eight people dead and many homeless. Chad Bouchard reports from Jakarta.

Indonesia estimates more than 400,000 people in the country's northwestern Sumatra and Aceh provinces have fled for higher ground after dozens of landslides. In some cases entire villages have been swept away.

Rescue teams are searching for survivors by boat as the waters recede, though heavy rain continues to fall in parts of the affected area.

Red Cross Aceh Chapter Chairman Faran Bustarimasor says medicine and food from Indonesian and foreign Red Cross agencies have been delivered by helicopter.

"Because some places are isolated by water, so we go there by boat," he said. "Also in the isolated areas, we drop the food by chopper."

Bustarimasor says survivors are suffering from fevers and skin diseases due to poor sanitation and contact with contaminated water.

Aid agencies are still assessing the damage, but Bustarimasor expects a significant need for recovery and reconstruction assistance over the coming weeks.

"Some of houses also damaged maybe we need to repair. Also the schools - some schools also damaged - first, we want our children can go to school soon," said Bustarimasor. "So maybe we need temporary schools like this."

Indonesian government officials say illegal logging and deforestation have made the area more vulnerable to floods.

In nearby Malaysia, heavy rains have flooded southern states, particularly Johor, for the past two weeks.

At least eight people have died in the Malaysia floods and the government has said the severity of the disaster was totally unexpected.

Officials there say more rains are expected and emergency services are standing by.

XS
SM
MD
LG