Indonesia flash floods, landslides kill at least 21, destroy hundreds of homes


JAKARTA (Reuters) – Flash tides and landslides triggered by torrential rains in Indonesia have killed at least 21 people, including 11 schoolchildren, 15 missing and hundreds of homes destroyed, authorities said Saturday.

Villagers stand on logs after the floods in the village of Muara Saladi in Mandailing Natal, North Sumatra province, Indonesia, were hit on October 13, 2018. Antara Foto / Holik Mandailing via REUTERS

More than 500 homes in the provinces of North and West Sumatra have been flooded or damaged, and some have been swept away by the floods that have destroyed three suspension bridges, a civil protection official said.

"Evacuation and search and rescue operations are underway," said Sutopo Purwo Nugroho, a spokesman for the Civil Protection Agency BNPB. "But the affected villages are in the mountains and access is difficult because of the damaged roads."

In North Sumatra, eleven children who studied in an Islamic village school died after their class wall collapsed when a nearby river overflowed on Friday.

FILE PHOTO: Villagers stand near a damaged house after the floods Nagari Tanjung Bonai village, in Tanah Datar, North Sumatra province, Indonesia October 12, 2018. Antara Photo / McAeil on REUTERS

"The victims were buried in a stream of mud and masonry," added Sutopo.

Rescuers are looking for a student who is still missing from the 29 in the class at the time but are responsible for the rest, regional police chief Irsan Sinuhaji told Reuters, adding that the authorities are looking for other people who may have disappeared are.

Two people were found dead Saturday after their vehicles were swept away by the river.

Four people died in landslides in the city of Sibolga in northern Sumatra, while flash floods in West Sumatra killed four more people, including two children.

(This story was returned to fix headline spelling of "floods")

Reporting by Agustinus Beo Da Costa; Writing by Fanny Potkin; Editing by Clarence Fernandez

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