Indonesia landslides death toll rises to 140, dozens missing
Lembata (Indonesia): The death toll from mudslides in eastern Indonesia has risen to 140 with dozens still missing, officials said Wednesday, as rain continued to pound the region and hamper the search.
East Flores district on Adonara island suffered the highest losses with 67 bodies recovered so far and six missing. Mud tumbled down from surrounding hills early on Sunday, catching people at sleep. Some were swept away by flash floods after overnight rains caused rivers to burst their banks.
On nearby Lembata island, the downpour triggered by Tropical Cyclone Seroja sent solidified lava from a volcanic eruption in November to crash down on more than a dozen villages, killing at least 32 and leaving 35 unaccounted for, according to the National Disaster Mitigation Agency.
Hundreds of police, soldiers and residents dug through the debris with their bare hands, shovels and hoes searching for those buried.
Relatives wailed Wednesday as they watched rescuers pull out a mud-caked body, place it on a bamboo stretcher and take it away for burial.