Andi Hajramuni, Makassar – Severe flooding that hit North Luwu regency, South Sulawesi, on Monday, has left at least 15 people dead and dozens more missing.
"The number [of victims] may increase because some villages are still not accessible," North Luwu Regent Indah Putri Indriani told The Jakarta Post on Tuesday.
Heavy rainfall since Sunday caused three rivers – the Masamba, Rongkong and Mely – to overflow. The National Disaster Mitigation Agency (BNPB) reported on Tuesday that the flooding affected 4,930 families across six districts, namely Masamba, Sabbang, Baebunta, South Baebunta, Malangke and West Malangke.
The Meteorology, Climatology and Geophysics Agency (BMKG) has predicted rain will continue to fall in the region until Thursday and urged residents to watch out for more flooding.
Hundreds of houses and public facilities are buried under 3-5 meters of mud. Access to the villages of Masamba and Radda is also blocked by mud to a depth of 2 meters.
The blocked access has not only hindered the evacuation process but also the distribution of logistics and aid.
"Now we're focusing on opening the access to continue search and rescue efforts, as well as distributing aid, especially clothes," Indah said, adding that a total of 2,650 residents had been displaced.
"February was expected to be the peak of the rainy season but it turns out the season has been prolonged. The recent flood is the fourth this year [in North Luwu]. Previous floods occurred in May and June," said Indah.
She also said the latest flood was the most severe as it hit Radda, an area that had never been affected by flooding before. (aly)