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Death toll in Indonesia’s floods, volcanic mudflows rises to 52

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Jakarta, May 14:  Death toll in cold lava floods that destroyed houses, buildings and public facilities in Indonesia’s West Sumatra province has mounted to 52, a senior official of a local disaster agency said on Tuesday.

Search for the missing persons resumed on Tuesday, as several heavy machinery equipment had been added to the scene to help with the operation, said Ilham Wahab, head of the rehabilitation and reconstruction unit of the provincial disaster management and mitigation agency.

“The number of bodies found is 52 now, and the missing number is 17. These figures will keep changing as people keep reporting about their missing family members,” he told Xinhua via phone.

Wahab noted that the ongoing emergency relief efforts would be followed by a reconstruction and rehabilitation programme.

Experts would be involved to consider whether it would be necessary to relocate the residents living in dangerous areas, such as on the sides of rivers whose upstream is at the slopes of the Merapi volcano and Singgalang volcano, which keep erupting and exiting volcanic materials, he added.

According to Lieutenant General Suharyanto, head of the National Disaster Management and Mitigation Agency, the natural disaster has forced over 3,000 people to flee home and take shelter at safer grounds.

“Repair of the damaged roads is among the priorities during the relief efforts,” he said in a text message, adding that the fulfilment of the basic needs of the flood-affected residents would be met.

Heavy rains on Saturday night triggered the waters of the rivers to overflow their banks, striking the regencies of Agam, Tanah Datar Pariaman, and Padang Panjang town.

IANS

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