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Weather hampers flood relief

Weather hampers flood relief

Indonesian rescue teams were yesterday trying to reach people still stranded by floods but bad weather was hampering efforts to deliver much-needed food in some areas, officials said.
Torrential rains last week triggered flash floods and landslides that have killed more than 100 people and forced some 400,000 to flee their homes on the island of Sumatra, with Aceh and North Sumatra provinces the worst hit. Some 200 people are still missing.
Tons of food, water, tents and medical supplies have been trucked and flown into the main cities and towns in affected areas.
But transporting supplies to stranded villagers who are running short of food is proving difficult.
"We are still concentrating on logistics distribution to difficult access areas, such as Gayo Lues and Bener Meriah," Aceh provincial governor Mustafa Abubakar told Agence France-Presse from Banda Aceh.
"In particular, Pinding village, where landslides cut off the main access to the village - we managed twice to reach the place by air, but bad weather is still hampering further deliveries," he said.
"People from neighboring areas tried to bring supplies with horses, since cars still cannot reach the area."
The Indonesian Red Cross said it had sent food, blankets and tarpaulins to the areas worst affected by the floods and a landslide in North Sumatra which killed at least 30 people.
Indonesian Red Cross official Arifin Muhammad Hadi said they had also received aid from the French and Spanish Red Cross organizations and Australia's AusAid.
"We will distribute this aid as soon as possible," the official said in a statement.
Helicopters have been dropping rice and instant noodles to people in the most cut-off areas, while trucks carrying noodles and biscuits were seen getting through to villages in the worst-hit district of Aceh Tamiang as the floodwaters started receding.
Some 400,000 people fled the floods, with 365,335 people displaced in Aceh province alone, as whole villages were swallowed.
With water levels dropping in many areas, more than 100,000 had returned home by yesterday, television reports said, citing official figures.
Returning villagers faced the mammoth task of cleaning houses damaged by the floods, while children were shown playing in the floodwaters and enjoying their enforced time off school.
More than 250,000 remaining evacuees from Aceh and North Sumatra are being accommodated in government buildings, schools and tents in 22 locations, while others have found shelter with relatives and friends.


Updated : 2020-12-04 07:50 GMT+08:00