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Thursday, October 7, 2010

Death toll from floods in Indonesia, China, others hits over 100

MORE than 100 people have been confirmed dead from floods and landslides across Asia, as helicopters dropped food to isolated villages and security forces helped search for survivors.

But agency report indicated that three-quarters of the deaths were in'eastern indonesia'where days of torrential downpours caused tons of mud and debris to crash into hillside villages.

Also, Associated Press (AP) reported that 26 fatalities were confirmed in Vietnam.

On the Chinese island of Hainan, 64,000 people had to be evacuated.

Hundreds of homes were damaged when a river burst its banks in the hardest-hit Indonesian village of Wasior, sweeping away residents in a fast-moving wall of sludge, rocks and heavy logs and leaving thigh-high water in its wake.

"I heard a roar and suddenly the river near my home broke its banks," said Ira Wanoni, describing a flood which struck his village, Wasio.

"Water mixed with rocks, mud and logs gushed out. Many people didn't have time to save themselves," he told the AP news agency.

With roads and bridges across West Papua province submerged or completely destroyed, it took days for help to arrive.

It wasn't until a navy ship arrived yesterday, carrying soldiers and policemen – together with tents, sleeping mats, instant noodles, clean water and medical supplies – that the extent of the damage became clear.

Dortheis Sawaki, heading local relief operations, said 75 bodies had been pulled from the mud and the wreckage of crumpled homes, but dozens more were still missing.

Another 90 people were hospitalised, many with broken bones. Some had to be evacuated by helicopter and, as hospitals in the district of Manokwari became overwhelmed, others were taken by ship to neighboring provinces.

"There are just too many injuries," said Sawaki, adding that some medical facilities had been hit by power outages and downed phone lines. "We can't handle it alone."

In Vietnam, 11 bodies were recovered in the worst-hit province of Quang Binh, where authorities were also searching for five sailors from a sunken barge, disaster official Nguyen Ngoc Giai said.

About seven other bodies were found in Ha Tinh province, five in Nghe An and three in Quang Tri, officials there reported, as floodwaters slowly started to recede.

On China's nearby island province of Hainan, meanwhile, seven straight days of heavy rains left two people missing and forced 64,000 to evacuate, said an official in the provincial flood control office who gave only his surname, Wu.

Seasonal rain across Asia causes floods and landslides every year, killing hundreds of people across the region.

In eastern Indonesian province of West Papua, flash floods and landslides in the Teluk Wondama district have left another 80 people injured and sent thousands into evacuation centres.

Many more are missing after a river burst its banks, triggering a landslide and uprooting trees.

The sudden flooding caught residents by surprise, officials said, contributing to the high death toll.

"We are still searching for dozens of missing people. The chance of survival for the missing people is slim," Papua search and rescue official Mochamad Arifin told the AFP news agency.

Many parts of the country had been badly hit by heavy rains, winds and high waves this year, meteorologists said.

A Red Cross official told the BBC that the death toll was higher, and that 94 people were known to have been killed.

Roads and bridges have been washed away and hundreds of homes, businesses and schools have been damaged or destroyed.

Rescue workers and residents are reported to be sifting through the thick mud.

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