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Death Toll from Weather-Related Natural Disasters in Indonesia and East Timor Rising

A damaged vehicle sits in the flood water in Ile Ape, on Lembata Island, East Nusa Tenggara province, Indonesia, Sunday, April 4, 2021. Multiple disasters caused by torrential rains in eastern Indonesia have left dozens of people dead or missing…

The death toll from the natural disasters spawned by torrential rains across eastern Indonesia has risen to 55, according to new figures issued Monday by the country’s disaster relief agency.

Landslides wiped out dozens of homes in Lamenele village on Flores Island in East Nusa Tenggara province shortly after midnight Saturday, with flash flooding striking other parts of the province, including nearby Lembata island. A spokesperson for the Natural Disaster Mitigation Agency said at least 42 people are missing, with hundreds of people forced to evacuate their homes.

The rains, landslides and floods have washed away bridges, downed trees and left roads thick with mud, complicating search and rescue efforts.

In neighboring East Timor, 21 people have died after the heavy rains triggered flash flooding and landslides on the outskirts of the capital, Dili, according to officials who spoke to news agencies.

Seasonal flash floods and landslides kill dozens annually in Indonesia. 40 people died in two landslides in West Java province in January.

About half of the country’s population, nearly 25 million people, live in areas where landslides are high-risk, according to the country’s disaster relief agency.