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Death Toll in Indonesian Floods Rises

December 29, 2006

BANDA ACEH, Indonesia (AP) _ Rescuers reached remote villages, delivering food and medicine Friday to thousands of people displaced by floods and rain-induced landslides that have claimed at least 126 lives on Indonesia’s Sumatra island.

In neighboring Malaysia, which is experiencing its most severe weather in a century, authorities found the body of a 14-year-old boy floating in a flood-swollen canal, bringing the death total there to 11.

Days of torrential rain have forced more than 400,000 people from their homes in Indonesia and displaced nearly 90,000 in Malaysia.

Heavy rain continued to fall over the hardest-hit areas of Sumatra, complicating relief efforts and adding to the misery of survivors, said local government spokesman Nadir Musa.

Most affected was the northernmost province of Aceh, where helicopters dropped food, tents and medicines while volunteers in dinghies distributed aid, Musa said.

At least 76 people were killed in Aceh, said Jabad, an official in the area who goes by only one name. That was 70 less than he had reported earlier in the day. Jabad said he mistakenly added some of then 150 people listed as missing to his count of the dead.

At least 50 others have died in neighboring North Sumatra province, said Edy Sofyan, the provincial spokesman.

Seasonal downpours cause of dozens of landslides and flash floods each year in the sprawling archipelagic nation where millions of people live in mountainous areas or in fertile flood plains.

Aceh was the hardest hit province in the 2004 tsunami, losing an estimated 167,000 people, but the floods and landslides have affected inland regions that were untouched by that disaster.

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