Massive Floods Kill At Least 43 People In Indonesia’s West Sumatra

Rescuers carry the body of a victim of a flash flood in Tanah Datar, West Sumatra, Indonesia, Monday, May 13, 2024. Heavy rains and torrents of cold lava and mud flowing down a volcano's slopes on Indonesia's Sumatra island triggered flash floods causing a number of people dead and missing, officials said Sunday. (AP Photo/Ali Nayaka)
Rescuers carry the body of a victim of a flash flood in Tanah Datar, West Sumatra, Indonesia, Monday, May 13, 2024. Heavy rains and torrents of cold lava and mud flowing down a volcano’s slopes on Indonesia’s Sumatra island triggered flash floods causing a number of people dead and missing, officials said Sunday. (AP Photo/Ali Nayaka)

OAN’s James Meyers
10:18 AM – Monday, May 13, 2024

Flash floods and mudslides in Indonesia’s West Sumatra province killed at least 43 people over the weekend, while a search for 15 other people has been ongoing, authorities said on Monday. 

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Massive amounts of rain that came down on Saturday evening prompted “flash floods, landslides, and cold lava flow” in three districts in West Sumatra province, according to Abdul Malik, chief of the provincial rescue team, who spoke to Reuters

The lava flow is said to have come from Mount Marapi, one of Sumatra’s most active volcanoes. 

The latest lava flow also comes after a tragic incident in December, when more than 20 people were killed after Marapi erupted. However, multiple eruptions have still occurred since then as well.  

“The heavy rain swept materials such as ash and large rocks from the Marapi volcano,” Abdul Malik said.

“Cold lava flow and flash floods have always been threats to us recently. But the problem is, it always happens late at night until dawn,” he added.

Abdul added that close to 400 personnel, which includes rescuers, police, and military have been deployed to search for missing people on Monday, with at least eight excavators and drones. 

Additionally, the national disaster and management agency BNPB stated that close to 200 houses were damaged and 178 acres of land were hit as well. At least 159 people from the Agam district have now been evacuated to nearby schools. 

The BNPB also shared footage showing that the roads and rice fields were almost completely covered by mud. 

Marapi has been active since a major eruption in January 2023 that caused no casualties. It is among more than 120 active volcanoes in Indonesia. The country is susceptible to seismic upheaval due to its location on the Pacific “Ring of Fire,” an arc of volcanoes and fault lines encircling the Pacific Basin. 

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