Torrential rain in Papua province triggers landslides, damaging dozens of homes.
At least 50 people have been killed by flash floods in Indonesia’s eastern Papua province.
The floods in Sentani, near the provincial capital of Jayapura, were triggered by torrential rain and subsequent landslides on Saturday, and also left 59 people injured.
Dozens of homes were damaged by floodwaters, the national disaster agency spokesman Sutopo Purwo Nugroho said.
“The number of casualties and impact of the disaster will likely increase as search and rescue teams are still trying to reach other affected areas.”
The waters had receded but officials were still trying to evacuate people.
“The joint search and rescue teams are still doing evacuations and not all affected areas have been reached because of fallen trees, rocks, mud and other material,” Nugroho said.
In Doyo, one of the most affected areas, a housing complex was littered with huge rocks believed to have rolled down from a nearby mountain.
Video footage from the scene showed rescuers administering oxygen to a victim who appeared trapped beneath a fallen tree.
Uprooted trees and other debris were strewn across muddy roads, while at Jayapura’s small airport, a propeller plane lay partly crushed on a runway.
“The rain started last night and went on until around 1 am this morning,” said Lilis Puji Hastuti, a 29-year-old mother of two young children in Sentani.
“Our house was flooded with thick mud … We immediately grabbed our valuables and ran to a neighbour’s [two-storey[ house to seek refuge.
“It’s hard to get out of the area because many roads are blocked … I’m worried, sad and scared all at one time.”
In Sentani, tents have been set up to take in flood victims and treat the wounded.
The Indonesian province of Papua shares a border with Papua New Guinea.
Flooding is not uncommon in Indonesia, especially during the rainy season that runs from October to April.
In January, floods and landslides killed at least 70 people on Sulawesi island, while earlier this month hundreds in the West Java province were forced to evacuate when torrential rains triggered severe flooding.