Indonesia flash floods leave five missing

JAKARTA (XINHUA) - Five people went missing as flash floods destroyed houses in Indonesia's North Sumatra province on Sunday (Dec 29), the National Disaster Management Agency spokesman Agus Wibowo said.

Joint search and rescue for the missing people who belong to one family are underway, involving personnel of military and police, a search and rescue office and the disaster management agency, the spokesman said.

"The missing family was likely swept by a strong current during the flash floods," he told Xinhua.

The natural disaster swept away nine houses, seriously damaging 17 others and several bridges and destroying 15 ha of horticultural plantation, said Wibowo.

Residents were evacuated to safer grounds, including religious and school buildings, he said.

More than 100 soldiers and heavy machinery equipment have been deployed to help relief efforts, including opening access for the isolated villages.

The natural disaster also triggered landslides in the district, Wibowo cited.

Meanwhile, Head of the Provincial Disaster Management Agency Riadhil Ahir Lubis said heavy downpours overflowed two rivers in Labuhanbatu Utara district.

"The waters were dragging logs and stones from the upstream of the rivers and flowing fast into the villages," he told Xinhua.

Indonesia has been frequently stricken by floods and landslides during heavy rains.

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