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Indonesia, Malaysia brace for more rain, floods

Indonesia, Malaysia brace for more rain, floods

More downpours were forecast Saturday for Malaysia and the Indonesian island of Sumatra, where rain-triggered floods and landslides this week have killed over 150 people and displaced at least half a million.
Another 170 people remained missing, feared dead after flash-floods swept away thousands of homes in the Southeast Asian nations, mostly in Indonesia, according to officials.
Hardest hit is northern Sumatra, where thousands of houses were destroyed and roads and bridges washed away, complicating relief efforts. Stormy weather also capsized a ferry off the island's eastern coast, killing one and leaving dozens unaccounted for.
Indonesia's Home Affairs Minister, Muhammad Ma'ruf, told reporters in the capital, Jakarta, on Friday that 71 people have died in Aceh province and 70 in North Sumatra province.
Helicopters dropped food, tents and medicine to survivors in some of the more remote villages on Thursday and Friday, while volunteers in dinghies helped to distribute aid.
"We're seeing people with skin disease, fever and colds," said Jabad, an official in the area who goes by only one name. "They badly need medicine and clean drinking water."
In neighboring Malaysia, which is experiencing its most severe weather in a century, authorities found the body of a 14-year-old boy in a flood-swollen canal, bringing the death toll there to 11.
Seasonal downpours regularly cause landslides and flash floods in the sprawling Indonesian archipelago, where millions of people live in mountainous areas or in flood plains.
The Aceh disaster relief task force said that more than 13,000 homes across six districts are severely damaged or washed away, more than 1,700 of them in the Aceh Tamiang district, where waters were several meters (yards) deep in some areas.
Several thousand refugees have taken shelter in nearby hills, said district spokesman Nasir Musa, adding that water was subsiding in some areas, making it possible for people to return to villages to clear away mud and debris.
Aceh was the hardest hit province in the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami, losing an estimated 167,000 people, but the floods and landslides have affected inland areas that were untouched by that disaster.
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Associated Press writers Irwan Firdaus in Jakarta, Indonesia, and Sean Yoong in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, contributed to this report.


Updated : 2021-06-22 00:14 GMT+08:00