Death toll from Indonesian floods, landslides rises to 26
MAKASSAR, Indonesia — The death toll from flooding and landslides in central Indonesia has risen to 26, the governor of a province that has been inundated by torrential rains said Thursday.
South Sulawesi Gov. Nurdin Abdullah said in a TV interview that displaced people were still being evacuated.
Ten districts and cities in the province including the capital Makassar have been affected by flooding that began late Tuesday, forcing more than 3,000 to flee their homes.
The operators of the Bili Bili rock-filled embankment dam were forced to release water on Tuesday, which contributed to flooding but avoided a worse disaster, said Adnan Purichta Ichsann, the chief of Gowa district near Makassar.
Adbullah told local media that siltation of the dam and deforestation of the upstream watershed had worsened the floods.
Rescuers are still searching for 24 people, according to Syamsibar, head of the provincial disaster agency.
Syamsibar, who goes by a single name, said the amount of rainfall was declining Thursday and the Bili Bili dam’s water level had dropped by about 2 meters (6 ½ feet).
Deadly landslides and floods are a frequent occurrence during seasonal rains in Indonesia, with man-made changes to the environment often worsening the situation.
A landslide in Sukabumi, on the country’s most populous island of Java, earlier this month killed 32 people.
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