At least 10 dead in Indonesia floods and landslides

Flood and Landslide - Indonesia
People use a heavy equipment to remove debris after flash floods hit the Saladi village in Mandailing Natal, North Sumatra on October 13. AFP/AGUS SALIM

MANDAILING NATAL, Indonesia -- At least 10 people have died and as many are missing after heavy rain unleashed flash floods and landslides in western Indonesia, an official said Saturday.

Heavy downpours since Wednesday triggered flooding and landslides that hit some 24 villages in Mandailing Natal district, North Sumatra province.

At least 10 people were confirmed killed while another 10 are missing at an Islamic boarding school that was buried by the landslides, the head of North Sumatra disaster agency Riadil Lubis said.

“The disaster and search and rescue agency have gone to the district but have been hampered by the landslides in several areas,” Riadil Lubis told AFP.

Landslides and flooding are common in Indonesia, a vast tropical archipelago prone to natural disasters and torrential downpours.

In February, 12 people died when an avalanche of mud and rock cascaded down a steep slope in central Java, Indonesia’s main island.

In June 2016, nearly 50 people died when heavy downpours sent torrents of water, mud and rock into villages also in Central Java province.