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Floods and landslide kill more than a dozen people in Indonesia's Sulawesi island

The Guardian - May 4, 2024

A flood and a landslide have hit Indonesia's Sulawesi island, killing at least 14 people, according to officials.

The landslide hit Luwu regency in South Sulawesi on Friday just after 1am local time, Abdul Muhari, spokesperson of Indonesia's disaster mitigation agency (BNPB), said in a statement.

Indonesia is prone to landslides during the rainy season, with the problem aggravated in some places by deforestation.

Torrential rain pounding the area since Thursday triggered a landslide, said local rescue chief Mexianus Bekabel.

Floods up to three meters (10ft) have affected 13 sub-districts as water and mud covered the area.

A search and rescue team worked to evacuate residents using rubber boats and other vehicles.

More than 100 people were evacuated to mosques or relatives' homes and more than 1,300 families were affected with authorities trying to evacuate them.

The national disaster management agency said more than 100 houses were seriously damaged and 42 were swept away, while four roads and one bridge were damaged.

In another area of South Sulawesi province, at least one person died and two others were injured in floods on Friday, Muhari said in another statement.

In March, flash floods and landslides on Sumatra island killed at least 30 people with scores still missing.

A landslide and flooding swept away dozens of houses and destroyed a hotel near Lake Toba on Sumatra in December, killing at least two people.

Indonesia has suffered a string of recent extreme weather events in its rainy season, which experts said are made more likely by climate change.

Extreme rainfall is more common and more intense because of human-caused climate breakdown across most of the world, particularly in Europe, most of Asia, central and eastern North America, and parts of South America, Africa and Australia.

This is because warmer air can hold more water vapour. Flooding has most likely become more frequent and severe in these locations as a result, but is also affected by human factors, such as the existence of flood defences and land use.

– With Agence France-Presse and Associated Press

Source: https://www.theguardian.com/world/article/2024/may/04/floods-and-landslide-kill-indonesias-sulawesi-islan