Indonesia flood death toll surges past 150
Rescuers were searching for dozens of people still missing after floods and landslides swept away villages in Indonesia and East Timor, killing more than 150 people and leaving thousands more homeless, AFP reports.
Torrential rains from Tropical Cyclone Seroja turned small communities into wastelands of mud, uprooted trees and sent around 10,000 people fleeing to shelters across the neighbouring Southeast Asian nations.
Indonesia's disaster management agency said it had recorded 130 deaths in a cluster of remote islands near East Timor, where another 27 have been officially listed as dead.
Search and rescue teams in Indonesia were racing to find more than 70 people still missing and using diggers to clear mountains of debris.
The storm swept buildings in some villages down a mountainside and to the shore of the ocean on Lembata island.
Authorities there said they were scrambling to shelter evacuees while trying to prevent any spread of Covid-19.
"These evacuees fled here with just wet clothes on their backs and nothing else," said the area's deputy mayor, Thomas Ola Longaday.
"They need blankets, pillows, mattresses and tents."
The region was bracing for its meagre health facilities to be overwhelmed as the number of injured soared.
"We don't have enough anaesthesiologists and surgeons, but we've been promised that help will come," Longaday said.
"Many survivors have broken bones because they were hit by rocks, logs and debris."