Flash flood sweeps through village near liquefaction-hit area in Sigi

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Ruslan Sangadji

Nearly two months after a strong earthquake and ensuing tsunami and soil liquefaction devastated the region, Sigi, Central Sulawesi, was struck by a flash flood on Friday, destroying dozens of houses in its way.

The flood hit Bangga village – which is located 10 kilometers from what used to be Jono Oge village before it was swallowed up by soil liquefaction – after days of heavy rain caused the Ore River to overflow.

More than a dozen houses have been completely swept away while hundreds are inundated.

“About 14 houses were swept away,” Bangga village leader Azhar Hasyim told The Jakarta Post.

Sigi Regent Muhammad Irwan told the Post that the flash flood struck the village at 7:30 p.m. on Friday.

The overflowing water from the river carried mud and tree trunks that damaged scores of houses in the village.

Muhammad suspects that the 7.4-earthquake and tsunami that struck Central Sulawesi on Sept. 28 had toppled trees in the area, making it susceptible to severe flooding in the rainy season.

"The Ore River could not contain that much water [and debris]," he added.

Sigi Police chief Adj. Sr. Comr. Wawan Sumantri said 154 families were forced to leave their homes because of the rising water.

“No casualties have been recorded,” he said.

The flood also damaged an excavator belonging to a local river monitoring agency, 70 hectares of rice fields and plantations, a dam and a bridge.

The downpour and flooding continued on Saturday.