Tornado in Indonesia injures 35, damages hundreds of homes

Residents surveying the damage to their homes after the area was hit by a tornado, in Sidoarjo, Java, on Nov 23, 2017. PHOTO: REUTERS

JAKARTA (REUTERS) - A tornado ripped through a densely populated area in Indonesia's East Java province on Wednesday (Nov 22), injuring 35 people and damaging more than 600 homes, the head of the local disaster mitigation official said.

The tornado, with wind speeds of 70km per hour, carved a path of destruction in the Sidoarjo area, lasting about five minutes, Dwidjo Prawito of Indonesia's disaster mitigation agency said by telephone.

A video posted on social media showed part of a roof being torn off a building as debris was hurled high into the air. Sidoarjo is south of Indonesia's second-biggest city of Surabaya.

Around 100 people were evacuated to an elementary school, while others had left to stay with family members, said Prawito.

In February, 166 houses were reported damaged when another tornado struck several villages in the same area.

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