Flash flooding kills 52 people, with more than 20 still missing

Indonesia – A devastating flash flood, triggered by monsoon rains and a landslide from Mount Marapi, has claimed the lives of 52 individuals on Indonesia’s Sumatra Island. The disaster has left 20 people missing and forced over 3,300 residents to seek refuge in temporary shelters as their homes and buildings were destroyed.

The catastrophe, which occurred over the weekend, resulted in rivers breaching their banks and a deluge ripping through mountainside villages in four districts of West Sumatra province. The floodwaters swept away 79 homes and submerged hundreds of others, leading to a mass exodus of residents to government-provided shelters.

Rescue operations commenced on Tuesday, with teams searching in rivers and through the rubble of obliterated villages for survivors and bodies. The National Search and Rescue Agency reported that most of the bodies recovered were found in the hardest-hit districts of Agam and Tanah Datar.

The country’s Meteorology, Climatology and Geophysics Agency warned of more heavy rainfall in the coming days, extending the risk of extreme weather until next week. In response, the National Disaster Management Agency has planned to implement weather modification techniques to reduce rainfall and prevent further flash floods.

Rescue efforts were particularly concentrated around the Anai Valley Waterfall area in the Tanah Datar district. Here, a group of seven people was swept away in their vehicles, with only three bodies recovered so far. As remote areas remain inaccessible and many people are still missing, officials anticipate the death toll to rise.

Indonesia, an archipelago nation of over 17,000 islands, is frequently subjected to landslides and flash floods due to heavy rains. The recent disaster follows a similar event just two months prior, which resulted in 26 fatalities and 11 missing persons in West Sumatra.