Death toll from Indonesian floods, landslides, climbs to 59

January 25, 2019
In this Wednesday, Jan. 23, 2019, file photo, residents ride a makeshift raft as they evacuate their flooded homes in Makassar, South Sulawesi, Indonesia. Torrential rains that overwhelmed a dam and caused landslides that killed some and displaced more than a few thousand residents in central Indonesia, officials said Wednesday. (AP Photo/Masyudi Syachban Firmansyah, File)

JAKARTA, Indonesia (AP) — The number of people killed after days of torrential rain triggered flash floods and landslides on Indonesia’s Sulawesi island has climbed to 59 with 25 others missing, a disaster official said Friday.

Rescuers recovered more bodies as floodwaters and rainfall subsided in several areas, said Sutopo Purwo Nugroho, the National Disaster Mitigation Agency spokesman. He said 45 people died in floods and 14 others in landslides.

Operators at the overwhelmed Bili Bili rock-fill embankment dam were forced to release water late Tuesday, which contributed to flooding but avoided a worse disaster.

Houses of more than 6,500 residents in thirteen districts and cities in the province including capital Makassar have been affected by flooding, forcing more than 3,000 people to flee.

Rescuers are still searching for 25 people, while 47 others have been hospitalized.

Seasonal downpours cause frequent landslides and flash floods in Indonesia, a chain of 17,000 islands where millions live in mountainous areas or near fertile flood plains.

A landslide in Sukabumi on the country’s most populous island of Java earlier this month killed 32 people.

Update hourly