Death toll of Indonesia’s lava floods reaches 52 with 17 missing

Jakarta, May 14 (UNI) Up to 52 people were found dead and 17 went missing after cold lava floods destroyed houses, buildings and public facilities in Indonesia’s West Sumatra province, a senior official of local disaster agency said on Tuesday.

Search for the missing persons resumed on Tuesday as several heavy machinery equipment had been added to the scene to help with the operation, said Ilham Wahab, head of the rehabilitation and reconstruction unit of the provincial disaster management and mitigation agency.

“The number of bodies found is 52 now, and the missing number is 17. These figures will keep changing as people keep reporting about their missing family members,” he told Xinhua via phone.

Wahab noted that the ongoing emergency relief efforts would be followed by a reconstruction and rehabilitation program.

Experts would be involved to consider whether it would be necessary to relocate the residents living in dangerous areas, such as on the sides of rivers whose upstream is at the slopes of the Marapi volcano and Singgalang volcano, which keep erupting and exiting volcanic materials, he added.

According to Lieutenant General Suharyanto, head of National Disaster Management and Mitigation Agency, the natural disaster has forced over 3,000 people to flee home and take shelters at safer grounds.

“Repair of the damaged roads is among the priorities during the relief efforts,” he said in a text message, adding that the fulfillment of the basic needs of the flood-affected residents would be met.

Heavy rains on Saturday night triggered the waters of the rivers to overflow their banks, striking the regencies of Agam, Tanah Datar and Pariaman, and Padang Panjang town.

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