At least 73 people have died and more than 60 are missing in flash floods in Indonesia's eastern province of Papua. Other dozens were injured and sent to hospital.
Local residents said torrential rain began on Saturday evening and continued into the night, triggering mudslides and flash floods. Some areas of Papua province received more than 18 inches (450 millimeters) of rain in the last three days.There are fears the number of dead may rise. Roads have been blocked by landslides and fallen trees. Dozens houses were damaged and flooded with thick mud. One of the worst affected area was the town of Sentani. “The joint search and rescue teams are still doing evacuations and not all affected areas have been reached because of fallen trees, rocks, mud and other material,” the national disaster agency spokesman Sutopo Purwo Nugroho said.
In Doyo, one of the most affected areas, a housing complex was littered with huge rocks believed to have rolled down from a nearby mountain. The waters had receded but officials were still trying to evacuate people. Flooding is however common in Indonesia, especially during the October-April rainy season. In January, floods killed at least 70 people on the island of Sulawesi.