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Indonesia’s Sumatra floods, landslides kill 27

People use a heavy equipment to remove debris after flash floods hit the Saladi village in Mandailing Natal, North Sumatra on Oct 13. (AFP)

Torrential rains triggered flash floods and landslides on the Indonesian island of Sumatra, killing at least 27 people, including a dozen children at a school, officials said Saturday.

A flash flood with mud and debris from landslides struck Mandailing Natal district in North Sumatra province and smashed an Islamic school in Muara Saladi village, where 29 children were swept away on Friday afternoon, said local police chief Irsan Sinuhaji. He said rescuers retrieved the bodies of 11 children from mud and rubble hours later.

The National Disaster Mitigation Agency’s spokesman, Sutopo Purwo Nugroho, said rescuers and villagers managed to rescue 17 other children and several teachers on Friday and pulled out the body of a child on Saturday near Aek Saladi river, close to the school. A video obtained by The Associated Press showed relatives crying besides their loved ones at a health clinic where the bodies of the children were lying, covered with blankets.

Nugroho said two bodies were found early Saturday from a car washed away by floods in Mandailing Natal, where 17 houses collapsed and 12 were swept away. Hundreds of other homes were flooded up to 2 meters (7 feet) high, while landslides occurred in eight areas of the region. Four villagers were killed after landslides hit 29 houses and flooded about 100 buildings in neighboring Sibolga district, Nugroho said. (AP)

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