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8 missing in heavy flash flood hitting Indonesia's West Sumatra

07-25-2012 13:11 BJT

JAKARTA, July 25 (Xinhua) -- A flash flood hit the capital of West Sumatra province and has inundated homes in five subdistricts, forcing hundreds of people to evacuate and seek refuge on higher ground with eight people reported missing, local media reported on Wednesday. The flood struck Padang at about 6:30 p.m. Tuesday during the time people were breaking their fasting, following more than three hours of heavy downpour. The waters reached as high as four meters but was down to around one meter on Wednesday morning.

"No one realized that the rivers in Padang burst their banks," Edi Asri, an official from the Padang disaster mitigation agency, said on Wednesday, as quoted by Antara news agency.

Water rushed out of the swollen Lubuk Kilangan, Kurao Pagang and Batang Kuranji rivers, destroying the houses and other buildings in its path. The worst hit areas were Limau Manis, Batu Busuk, Kampung Koto, Cengkeh, Padang Besi, Kalumbuk and Tunggul Hitam.

"The residents of these flood-hit areas have been evacuated to mosques located on higher ground," Edi said.

No casualties have been reported, but eight people were reported missing on Tuesday night.

The Joint Search and Rescue Team has been working since Tuesday night to evacuate residents still trapped in the flooded areas.

"SAR teams have been using rescue boats to save people whose houses were inundated by floodwaters," Edi said.

The team had difficulty accessing some of the areas, including Limau Manis in Pauh subdistrict where floodwaters were still chest- deep. The flood also destroyed several bridges and cut off electricity, isolating several homes.

A local resident said Tuesday's disaster was worse than the last flooding they suffered in 2008.

"When the flash flood hit in 2008, nothing happened to the bridge, but today's flooding is worse," he said.

Akmal, the spokesman of the Padang Search and Rescue Agency, said that while the team has reached trapped residents, evacuation was difficult.

"There are about 50 people that we're now trying to evacuate to safer areas," Akmal said.

The Padang Disaster Mitigation Agency (BPBD) has declared an emergency status and warned other residents who live near the rivers.

 

Editor:James |Source: Xinhua

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