JAKARTA • At least 10 people are dead and eight are missing after days of heavy rain triggered floods and landslides on the Indonesian island of Sumatra, the authorities said yesterday.
About 12,000 people have been evacuated while hundreds of buildings, bridges and roads have been damaged by the severe weather, which affected nine districts or towns across Bengkulu province, officials said.
Xinhua news agency, however, put the number of dead at 12.
The waters have receded in some places but officials say the full extent of damage is not yet known.
National disaster agency spokesman Sutopo Purwo Nugroho said several people were also injured in the flooding. "Landslides and floods could happen again if rainfall is high," he added.
A secondary disaster in the form of skin diseases and acute respiratory infection due to poor hygiene and a lack of clean water was possible, he said.
Aerial images showed swollen rivers that had burst their banks and inundated settlements in some parts of the province.
Public kitchens and evacuation shelters have been set up to cater to those affected by the flooding, while search and rescue teams try to reach hard-hit areas with rubber boats.
"The distribution of aid has been hampered because road access has been cut off by the floods and landslides," Dr Sutopo said, adding that excavators were being used to clear debris.
Landslides and floods are common in Indonesia, especially during the monsoon season between October and April.
Flooding in parts of Jakarta last week killed at least two people and forced more than 2,000 to evacuate their homes.
Residents of Bogor, a satellite city of Jakarta, had to contend with 14 pythons that were set loose from a private property due to the high waters. Officials said eight of the snakes remained on the loose.
AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE, XINHUA