One dead, thousands displaced by East Java tornado
A puting beliung (small tornado) swept through three different villages in Batu city in East Java over the weekend, leaving one dead and over 1,000 residents displaced.
The tornado destroyed about 20 houses, a telecommunications transmitter and parts of the electricity network in three villages: Sumber Brantas, Gunungsari and Sumbergondo.
Several trees fell and blocked access to the affected areas. Sodiq, a resident of Jurang Kuali hamlet in Sumber Brantas village, was killed by a falling tree, news site tempo.co reported.
Over 1,200 residents took shelter in five locations, including at the mayor’s residence and the Batu Disaster Mitigation Agency (BPBD) compound.
"We have to evacuate the residents for their own safety," said a BPBD official, Achmad Choirur Rochim, on Sunday.
"In the villages, strong winds were still felt [during the evacuation process]," he added.
As residents left their homes, a joint team of police and military officers were assigned to safeguard vacant houses in the three affected villages.