12 killed in Sumatra floods
by Benteng Reges
The civil authorities are not sure about the death toll as yet. The hardest hit area is Langkat regency where people have evacuated their homes and streets are impassable. Illegal deforestation has been blamed.
Jakarta (AsiaNews) – At least 12 people have been killed in floods that swept across six sub-districts of Langkat regency in the north of the island of Sumatra. The area’s big rivers burst their banks and overflowed, putting homes at risk.
Torrential rains pouring down on Indonesia since 21 December have created a mudflow that has made roads linking Sumatra to Aceh province impassable. Hundreds of commuters were stuck for the night in forested areas of the province, unable to return home.
Several sources said the death toll is not known as yet. Zainal Arifin, spokesman of the affected regency, said: “We have lost all contact with Sekoci village and consequently also with Aras Kapal and Alur Jambu, that are situated 15km off the roads.”
The emergency has blocked all public activities: schools have shut down and thousands of people have moved to safer places.
The authorities of the regency have publicly blamed “widespread illegal logging taking place in Leuser National Park.” Syamsul Arifin, mayor of Langkat, said: “These criminals are the real perpetrators of this tragedy.”