Landslides, flood kill at least 119 people on Sumatra

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The Independent Online

Landslides and floods after four days of torrential rains have killed at least 119 people on Indonesia's Sumatra island, officials and news reports said this morning.

Landslides and floods after four days of torrential rains have killed at least 119 people on Indonesia's Sumatra island, officials and news reports said this morning.

Rescue workers said they believed dozens more had been buried alive in landslides that followed the flooding, which the Jakarta Post described as the worst in the area since 1953.

"There are reports of landslides everywhere," said Jual Effendi, head of West Sumatra's search and rescue agency.

Some food aid had reached the worst-affected areas in the provinces of West Sumatra and Aceh on the island's northern half, but relief workers said blocked roads and continuing rains were hampering rescue efforts.

"We are looking for survivors, but we fear there will only be corpses," said student volunteer Nanang Farid Syam.

Floods have also swamped major towns in the region, about 625 miles northwest of the nation's capital, Jakarta.

Power and telephone lines in Aceh's capital, Banda Aceh, have been swept away, leaving thousands of people in the town without electricity, the Kompas newspaper said.

Large parts of Padang, 470 miles to the south of Banda Aceh, are also under as much as three meters of water, witnesses said.

Landslides in Indonesia are frequently caused by monsoonal rain in areas where land has been weakened by deforestation.

Floods and landslides killed over one hundred people last month in Indonesia's main island of Java.

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