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Rescue operations underway as death toll in Indonesia's lava floods rises to 58

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Rescue operations underway as death toll in Indonesias lava floods rises to 58
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Jakarta: The disaster management office of Indonesia said on Wednesday that the number of fatalities from floods and cold lava mudflows in the region of West Sumatra had increased to 58.

Over the weekend, heavy monsoon rains caused flash floods in several West Sumatra provinces, according to officials. Cold lava and mudflows from Mount Marapi poured down slopes and flooded towns.

Thirty-five people are still missing, 33 have been injured, and more than 1,500 families have been affected, according to the agency.

Cold lava floods, also known as lahars, are volcanic mudflows that can occur during or after eruptions when heavy rainfall mobilises loose volcanic material.

Lieutenant General Suharyanto, the head of the disaster agency, said the government was prioritising efforts to restore roads and bridges that were damaged or destroyed in the disaster, which has hampered rescue and relief operations.

Helicopters were being used to deliver aid to some areas while authorities were also considering relocating residents whose homes were damaged or destroyed, he said.

He said the country's weather agency would soon launch weather modification operations to reduce rainfall in the area.

"We don't want the efforts in this emergency response phase to be hampered again by rain and bad weather causing further disasters," Suharyanto said in a statement.

Indonesia is prone to natural disasters due to its location on the Pacific "Ring of Fire," an arc of volcanoes and fault lines where earthquakes and volcanic eruptions are common.


With inputs from IANS

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TAGS:IndonesiaFloods
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