Death toll in Indonesia’s flash floods climbs to 21, 31 missing

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JAKARTA, July 15 (Xinhua) — The number of casualties of flash floods and landslides in Indonesia’s South Sulawesi province rose to 21 on Wednesday, with 31 others missing, an official said.

The search and rescue efforts were intensified in the flash flood-stricken district of Luwu Utara on Wednesday, involving 539 rescuers, said an official in charge at the Provincial Search and Rescue Office, who refused to be identified.

“Today five bodies were retrieved by the rescuers, bringing the total number of casualties to 21,” the official told Xinhua by phone from the province.

Meanwhile, 10 people are still under medical treatment in a hospital for their wounds, he said.

Most of the bodies were recovered from the mud which submerged the areas. The mud was 50 centimeters to 1 meter high, he added.

The search and rescue mission will resume on Thursday morning to focus on Masamba city and Radda village, as they were hit the hardest by the calamity, the official said.

“For tomorrow (Thursday), the number of the rescuers have been divided into six teams. They will intensify search and rescue efforts in Masamba and Radda,” he said.

Heavy downpours triggered river waters in the district to overflow and submerge surrounding areas. Scores of houses, a school building and public facilities were damaged, according to the search and rescue office.

The catastrophe has impacted nearly 5,000 people as their houses were hit by the flash floods carrying mud, according to the National Disaster Management Agency. Enditem

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