Friday 23 April 2021
News ID: 88871
Publish Date: 06 April 2021 - 21:18
JAKARTA (Reuters) -- Rescuers searched for dozens missing in the remote islands of southeast Indonesia on Tuesday, as reinforcements arrived to help in the aftermath of a tropical cyclone that killed at least 119 people.
Helicopters were deployed to aid the search, and ships carrying food, water, blankets and medicine reached ports previously blocked by high waves whipped up by tropical cyclone Seroja, which brought heavy rain and triggered deadly floods and landslides on Sunday.
Indonesia’s disaster agency BNPB revised upwards the death toll from the cyclone in the East Nusa Tenggara islands, after earlier saying 86 had died. Seventy-six people were still missing.
"The rescue team is moving on the ground. The weather is good,” BNPB spokesman Raditya Jati told a news briefing.
Search and rescue personnel, however, had trouble transporting heavy equipment for use in the search.
"Search for victims is constrained, the existing heavy equipment cannot be sent to their destination, especially in Adonara and Alor,” the head of BNPB, Doni Monardo, said.
The Adonara and Alor islands were among the islands worst hit by the cyclone, with 62 and 21 people dead respectively.
Aerial images from Adonara on Tuesday showed brown mud and flood water covering a vast area, burying houses, roads and trees.
The military and volunteers arrived on the islands on Tuesday and were setting up public kitchens, while medical workers were brought in.
Video taken by a local official in Tanjung Batu village on Lembata, home to the Ile Lewotolok volcano, showed felled trees and large rocks of cold lava that had crushed homes after being dislodged by the cyclone.
Thousands of people have been displaced, nearly 2,000 buildings including a hospital were impacted, and more than 100 homes heavily damaged by the cyclone.
Two people died in nearby West Nusa Tenggara province.
There were also concerns about possible COVID-19 infections in crowded evacuation centers.
In neighboring East Timor, at least 33 were killed in floods and landslides and by falling trees. Civil defense authorities were using heavy equipment to search for survivors.
Some residents of Lembata island may have also been washed away by mud into the sea.
A volcano that erupted on Lembata last month wiped out vegetation atop the mountain, which allowed hardened lava to slide towards 300 houses when the cyclone struck, a senior district official said, hoping help was on the way.


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