Deadly Floods and Landslides Claim 34 Lives in West Sumatra

At least 34 people died and 16 are missing after flash floods and cold lava flow hit Indonesia's West Sumatra province. The disaster, triggered by heavy rain and Mount Marapi's volcanic activity, damaged infrastructure and property, with search and rescue efforts ongoing.

Aqsa Younas Rana
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Deadly Floods and Landslides Claim 34 Lives in West Sumatra

Deadly Floods and Landslides Claim 34 Lives in West Sumatra

A devastating flood and landslide disaster has struck Indonesia's West Sumatra province, specifically in the Agam and Tanah Datar regencies, since Saturday evening. The calamity has claimed the lives of at least 34 people, with 16 others still missing and 18 injured, according to death toll reports.

Why this matters: This disaster highlights the urgent need for Indonesia to address its environmental concerns, particularly deforestation, which exacerbates the impact of natural disasters. It also underscores the importance of disaster preparedness and mitigation measures to minimize the loss of life and property.

Hours of heavy rain triggered flash floods and cold lava flow from Mount Marapi, the most active volcano on Sumatra island, sending sweeping ash and large rocks down its slopes. The article states that the disaster struck at around 10:30 pm local time (1530 GMT) on Saturday, bringing destruction to the affected areas.

Ilham Wahab, the West Sumatra disaster agency spokesman, confirmed the death toll, stating, "Until now our data shows that 34 people died: 16 in Agam and 18 in Tanah Datar. At least 18 others are injured. We are also still searching for 16 other people."

The flooding has caused significant damage to infrastructure and property. Several mosques and a public pool were damaged in Tanah Datar district, with large rocks and logs scattered on the ground. A road connecting the cities of Padang and Bukittinggi was severely damaged, cutting off access for cars. Dozens of homes and public facilities were also damaged in Agam four districts.

Search and rescue efforts are ongoing, with a team of rescuers, police, soldiers, and volunteers involved in the operation. Authorities have set up evacuation centers and emergency posts in several areas of Agam and Tanah Datar districts. Rubber boats have been dispatched to look for the missing victims and to transport people to four shelters.

Indonesia is prone to landslides and floods during the rainy season. In March, at least 26 people had been found dead after landslides and floods hit West Sumatra. Environmental campaigners have blamed deforestation caused by logging for worsening such article disasters.

Mount Marapi, one of Indonesia's most active volcanos, erupted in December, spewing an ash tower 3,000 meters (9,800 feet) into the sky, taller than the volcano itself. At least 24 climbers, most of them university students, died in the eruption.

As the search for missing victims continues and relief efforts intensify, the full extent of the damage caused by the floods and landslides in West Sumatra is still being assessed. The disaster serves as a stark reminder of the devastating impact of natural calamities in the region and the urgent need for enhanced disaster preparedness and mitigation measures.