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7/26/2007

58 dead in Indonesia floods, landslides

Indonesia
Map showing the island of Sulawesi in Indonesia, where search and rescue workers struggled in bad weatherto reach survivors in flooded and landslide-hit Central Sulawesi, as the death toll from the disaster rose to 58.
(AFP/Graphic)

Indonesian search and rescue workers struggled in bad weather Tuesday to reach survivors in flooded and landslide-hit Central Sulawesi, as the death toll from the disaster rose to 58.

The floods have affected some 36,000 people and are the latest in a string of natural catastrophes to hit Indonesia, where activists have long warned that logging and a failure to reforest denuded land will lead to repeat tragedies.

The head of the Central Sulawesi disaster control task force, Frits Abbas, said that 58 people had been killed, but the bodies of most victims were still buried under debris.

Days of heavy rains sparked floods that inundated Central Sulawesi's Morowali district on Sunday, demolishing hundreds of homes and severing transport links.

On Tuesday, two-metre (-yard) high waters also swept through Banggai district to the east, said Rustam Pakaya, from the health ministry's crisis centre in the Indonesian capital Jakarta.

The floods have affected some 20,000 people in 16 villages there, he said, while the homes of some 16,000 others in Morowali were inundated.


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