108 die, 180 missing in landslides, floods in Indonesia

News and Press Release
Originally published
BANDA ACEH, Indonesia, Dec 27, 2006 (Xinhua via COMTEX) -- The death toll from landslides and floods in Indonesia's Aceh and North Sumatra provinces reached 108 on Wednesday and the figure is expected to rise as over 180 others were still missing since last Friday, officials said here.

Secretary of the Aceh Disaster Management Agency Suwarno Amin said the death toll in Aceh reached 69 with 169 remained missing. Most of the missing is in Tamiang regency with 164 people.

In North Sumatra, the fatality has risen to 11 in Langkat regency and 28 in Muara Sipongi regency, and there are nine people missing, said an official of the Disaster Management Agency of the province Nazaruddin.

Although the water has receded, the number of internally displaced persons has risen to 203,722, according to health ministry official Rustam Pakaya.

Pakaya said health officials have imposed preventive measures in the two provinces and also nearby province of Riau, which was also hit by floods, to counter epidemic outbreaks.

"We have been conducting fogging, sterilizing waters and other surveilances," he said, adding that diarrhea, malaria and other diseases are feared to appear at this time.

Local website Serambi online has reported that scores of displaced persons have suffered from diarrhea and skin disease due to poor sanitation in the temporary shelters.

Pakaya said that all the aids from government and organizations have reached the disaster-hit area, but a local Metro TV station reported the aids are still concentrated in warehouses.

The disaster has been blamed on consecutive territorial rains and deforestation which resulted in lack of adequate forest cover land to hold excess water. Indonesia has been frequently hit by the such kind of disasters during wet season.

Two years ago, Aceh was devastated by an Indian Ocean tsunami triggered by 8.7 magnitude earthquake, which left some 170,000 dead or missing in the northern tip of Indonesia's Sumatra island.