Death toll hits 44 in Indonesia’s lava floods with 15 missing

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Rescue team members work in a damaged area after a cold lava flood at Agam regency in West Sumatra, Indonesia, on May 13. (Xinhua)

JAKARTA, May 13, (Xinhua): At least 44 people were killed and 15 others went missing after cold lava floods struck Indonesia’s West Sumatra province on Saturday night, a senior official of local disaster agency said on Monday.
Although many big stones and waste materials from the flooding hampered the searching for the victims, rescuers discovered another seven bodies in the affected areas, said Fajar Sukma, head of the emergency unit of disaster management and mitigation agency of West Sumatra province.
“We have found several bodies, bringing the total death toll to 44. Big stones and the waste have hampered the searching, but we continue to look for the 15 people reported missing,” he told Xinhua.
Some machinery equipment has successfully reached the flood-stricken areas, according to him.
The search operation would focus on Tanah Datar and Agam regencies, where the 15 missing were reported, he added.
Spokesman of the National Disaster Management Agency (BNPB) Abdul Muhari said the natural disaster had forced over 3,000 people to flee home and take shelters in both regencies, as the cold lava floods destroyed houses, buildings and other infrastructure facilities.
The government had conducted emergency relief efforts in responding to the disaster, while head of the BNPB Lieutenant General Suharyanto would supervise the evacuation and distributions of aids to the affected residents, he said.
Earlier media reports put the death toll at 37.

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