North Sulawesi Floods Leave 13 Dead, Tens of Thousands Displaced

This picture taken on January 15, 2014 shows Indonesian residents (center R and back C) standing on roofs of houses submerged by flooding in Manado, the capital city of the North Sulawesi province of Indonesia. At least 13 people were killed after overnight flash floods and landslides hit Indonesia’s Sulawesi island, an official said on January 16. (AFP Photo)

This picture taken on January 15, 2014 shows Indonesian residents (center R and back C) standing on roofs of houses submerged by flooding in Manado, the capital city of the North Sulawesi province of Indonesia. At least 13 people were killed after overnight flash floods and landslides hit Indonesia’s Sulawesi island, an official said on January 16. (AFP Photo)

At least 13 people have been killed and 40,000 have fled their homes after torrential rain triggered flash floods and landslides on Indonesia’s northern Sulawesi island, officials said Thursday.

National Disaster Mitigation Agency (BNPB) Sutopo Purwo Nugroho described the flash floods as “massive,” adding the rains had also triggered numerous landslides across the mountainous region.

“Thirteen people were killed, two are missing and 40,000 people have been evacuated,” he said.

The North Sulawesi capital saw heavy showers since Tuesday evening, causing floods across its 11 subdistricts, according to the BNPB.

Rains also triggered floods and landslides in the neighboring district of Minahasa, where a person was found dead after a landslide buried 10 houses in Kembes village. Another person was declared missing.

Sutopo said water levels were as high as six meters in some areas along riverbanks and that the downtown area was under 1.5 meters.

“Four bridges collapsed,” Sutopo said on Wednesday. “Rains are still falling right now.”

Some people were trapped in their homes, he said, adding that evacuations remained underway, with the police, the military and volunteers working together.

Refugees have taken shelter at the Swissbell Hotel, the Tengunpura Hotell and the mayor’s office, among other places.

Sutopo said winds blew at high speeds in Manado during the downpours, between 15 and 20 knots, while waves reached five meters off the coast.

“Satellite images show that there are still a lot of clouds above North Sulawesi,” he said. “The potential for flooding remains pretty high.” The Jakarta Globe

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