Indonesian Rescuers Race Against Time After Deadly Flash Floods

Wed May 15 2024
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TANAH DATAR, Indonesia: Indonesian rescuers are in a race against time to locate dozens of people still missing following devastating flash floods and cold lava flow that wreaked havoc over the weekend, claiming the lives of 67 individuals.

The catastrophe unfolded as hours of relentless rainfall triggered torrents of mud and rocks, inundating neighborhoods and sweeping away houses near one of Indonesia’s most active volcanoes.

National disaster agency chief Suharyanto confirmed the death toll and provided updates on the situation, revealing that 35 individuals remain unaccounted for and 33 others sustained injuries. Many of the retrieved bodies were discovered in or around nearby rivers, a grim aftermath of the deluge of volcanic material and mud that ravaged communities.

Cold lava, or lahar, compounded the disaster, carrying volcanic ash, sand, and pebbles down the slopes of the volcano. Efforts to clear debris from the worst-hit areas are underway, with heavy equipment deployed to facilitate access and aid in the rescue operation.

In a bid to enhance the rescue efforts, authorities have deployed weather modification technology, colloquially known as cloud seeding. The objective is to induce rainfall earlier, thereby reducing its intensity by the time it reaches the disaster-stricken area.

Indonesia, vulnerable to landslides and floods during the rainy season, faces recurrent challenges exacerbated by environmental factors. Deforestation, attributed to logging activities, has amplified the severity of natural disasters, as evidenced by the tragic events unfolding on Sumatra island in 2022.

Environmental campaigners emphasize the critical role of trees in mitigating floods, underscoring the urgent need for sustainable land management practices to safeguard against future calamities.



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