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Indonesia Flood Toll Rises; Villages Cut Off


Indonesian rescuers are struggling to reach stranded villagers in an area of East Java where flash floods and landslides have killed at least 57 people.

Heavy rains sent mud, water and logs crashing down hillsides early Monday into villages around the town of Jember just west of the island of Bali. The area is about 850 kilometers east of Jakarta.

Reports Tuesday say hundreds of buildings were destroyed, and thousands of people are homeless. The local government is scrambling to provide food, shelter and medicine to the needy, and rescuers are trying to reach a few villages cut off by landslides and collapsed bridges.

Many victims lived on coffee plantations or riverbanks - both areas stripped of trees that would normally offer protection against a wave of flood debris.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP, AP, and Reuters.