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Death toll in Indonesia floods, landslides hits 17

January 17, 2014

JAKARTA, Indonesia (AP) — The death toll from rain-triggered landslides and flash floods on Indonesia’s Sulawesi island climbed to 17 on Friday, an official said, as the government declared a two-week emergency response.

Rescuers also are looking for about 15 people believed to be buried under a landslide outside Manado, the capital of North Sulawesi province, said the National Search and Rescue Agency’s operational chief, Tatang Zainuddin.

Days of torrential rains caused landslides and flash floods in Manado and surrounding areas on Wednesday, with floodwaters reaching as high as 8 meters (26 feet).

The death toll rose to 17 when the body of the chief of a local public health center was pulled from the debris on Friday, Zainuddin said.

More than 1,000 houses were flooded by overflowing rivers in the region, forcing about 10,000 displaced people into temporary shelters.

The government on Friday declared a two-week emergency response to cope with the disaster, enabling authorities to mobilize all necessary resources with the central government’s support.

Seasonal rains and high tides in recent days have caused widespread flooding across much of Indonesia, an archipelago of more than 17,000 islands that’s home to 240 million people. In the capital, Jakarta, four people have died in floods since Sunday, according to the city’s disaster mitigation agency.

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