Sumatra Struck By Flooding and Landslides
Another natural disaster hit Indonesia as torrential rain triggered flash flooding and landslides. The disaster happened on the northern island of Sumatra, killing at least 27 people.
According to media reports, the death toll included a dozen schoolchildren attending their classes in an Islamic school. A flash flood struck the school during classes and 11 children died.
This news was confirmed by Sutopo Purwo Nugroho, a spokeperson from the National Disaster Mitigation Agency.
Sutopo Purwo Nugroho confirmed rescuers retrieved 11 bodies of students on Friday. Villagers and other rescuers were able to save 17 children and several teachers.
“Eleven students of an Islamic boarding school in Muara Saladi village, Mandailing Natal district, North Sumatra died Friday afternoon during class as they were struck by a building which was destroyed by the flash floods,” Mr Nugroho said.
To prevent more casualties, other parts of Sumatra declared a week-long emergency relief period. In addition, alarmed by the possibility of more flash flood incidents, hundreds of villagers living on the hillsides evacuated to safer ground.
Indonesia was hit by a deadly quake last month that resulted in the death of 2,000 people on the island of Sulawesi.
Casualties Around Sumatra
Indonesian authorities recorded casualties caused by flash flooding and landslides around the region. This was due to seasonal downpours that included torrential rain.
Flooding in Mandailing Natal led to the devastation of hundreds of homes. But most houses were flooded up to 2 meters high. Flooding also destroyed houses and buildings in the neighbouring Sibolga district.
Landslides caused massive devastation in West Sumatra’s Padang Pariaman and West Pasaman districts. Media reports say three bridges were damaged in these districts and flooding affected around 500 homes.
On Earthquakes and Disasters
Seasonal downpours in the region are common, as are landslides, quakes and floods. Earthquakes are also common in Indonesia. In fact, a devastating tremor hit the island of Sulawesi, killing 2,000 people and triggered a tsunami in nearby towns.
In July this year, a powerful earthquake rattled an Indonesian tourist island, killing at least 14 people and injuring more than 150 civilians. The quake also triggered landslides on the nearby mountain of Rinjani and trapped 700 trekkers and climbers who became stranded at two points on the mountain.
The Muslim nation sits on the infamous Ring of Fire, a set of fault lines which circle the Pacific Basin, making it more prone to quakes.