MEDAN, Indonesia (AP) — Landslides and floods from torrential rains on Indonesia’s Sumatra island killed at least seven people and displaced thousands, the disaster agency said Wednesday.
Large areas of Central Tapanuli district in North Sumatra province were inundated with up to 2.5 meters (6 feet) of water after rivers burst their banks shortly after midnight, said Agus Wibowo, spokesman for the National Disaster Mitigation Agency.
He said rescuers recovered five bodies that were buried when the monsoon rains triggered a landslide in Andam Dewi village. They also found two more bodies of villagers who were swept away by flash floods.
Thousands of people were involved in the rescue effort, but distribution of aid was hampered by power cuts, blocked roads and the large distance between disaster-hit areas, local disaster agency official Agus Haryanto said.
More than 2,000 people have been forced to leave their flooded homes, Haryanto said.
Videos and photos released by the agency showed hundreds of rescuers and police and military taking residents to shelters. Others carried bodies in yellow body bags. Ambulances and other vehicles took victims to several clinics and hospitals.
Seasonal downpours cause frequent landslides and floods and kill dozens each year in Indonesia, a chain of 17,000 islands where millions of people live in mountainous areas or near fertile flood plains.