Indonesia, Timor-Leste flood death toll surges past 150: Officials

JAKARTA: At least 157 people have been killed in Indonesia and neighbouring Timor-Leste with dozens more still missing after a tropical cyclone battered the Southeast Asian nations, leaving thousands homeless, authorities said Tuesday (Apr 6).

Indonesia’s disaster management agency said it had recorded 130 deaths in a cluster of remote islands near Timor-Leste where another 27 have been officially listed as dead.

Rescuers in Indonesia were racing to find more than 70 people still missing and using diggers to clear mountains of debris left in the wake of tropical cyclone Seroja.

Residents take refuge at an evacuation centre

Residents take refuge at an evacuation centre after fleeing their damaged homes in Dili on Apr 5, 2021. (Photo: AFP/Valentino Dariel Sousa)

Torrential rains sparked flooding and landslides that turned small communities into wastelands of mud, uprooted trees and forced thousands of people into shelters.

Thousands of homes, as well as hospitals and bridges were damaged or destroyed in the disaster while more than 10,000 people have fled to shelters, authorities said.

“We could still see extreme weather (from the cyclone) for the next few days,” said national disaster agency spokesman Raditya Jati.

The storm was moving toward the west coast of Australia.

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