At least seven people were killed and thousands displaced due to torrential rains that caused floods and landslides in Indonesia’s Sumatra island, according to the disaster agency on Wednesday.
Agus Wibowo, spokesman for the National Disaster Mitigation Agency said that the large areas of Central Tapanuli district in North Sumatra province were inundated with up to 2.5 meters (6 feet) of water after rivers burst their banks shortly after midnight.
Wibowo further said that rescuers recovered five bodies that were buried when the monsoon rains triggered a landslide in Andam Dewi village. They also found two more bodies of villagers who were swept away by flash floods.
Thousands of people were involved in the rescue effort, but the distribution of aid was hampered by power cuts, blocked roads and the large distance between disaster-hit areas, local disaster agency official Agus Haryanto said.
More than 2,000 people have been forced to leave their flooded homes, Haryanto added.
Earlier in the month, 43 people were killed from heavy floods and landslides in the Jakarta metropolitan area
Earlier, President Joko Widodo had said that priority had to be given to those trapped by the floodwaters.
Some 31,000 people had to evacuate to temporary refuge centres due to flooding caused by heavy rainfall in recent days, which led to several rivers overflowing across the capital.
Landslides and flooding are common in Indonesia, especially during the monsoon season between October and April when rain lashes the vast tropical archipelago.
Earlier, flash floods and landslides killed at least 22 people in several districts across Sumatra island.