12/27/2006, 00.00
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Flooding kills 109 people in Sumatra

Torrential rains have been falling on the province since December 21 forcing more than 400,000 residents to flee. The central government issues a national emergency as local authorities warn of a pending food crisis. Illegal logging is blamed for the tragedy.

Jakarta (AsiaNews) – Recent flooding in six sub-districts of Langkat Regency in northern Sumatra has killed 109 people as rain continues to fall. Some 400,000 residents have fled their homes. The situation is so bad that the central government has issued a national emergency and sent hundreds of troops into the area to rescue people.

Torrential rains have been falling on Indonesia since December 21 creating a sea of mud that has made roads on Sumatra Island, especially Aceh province, impossible to use.

“All homes here were inundated. We have nothing—all has vanished with the flood—except for the clothes on our backs,” said Asnah, a local resident. 

Farmland has been flooded as well and local authorities expect a food crisis “in the next few days”.

The emergency situation has blocked everything. Schools are closed and residents have moved by the thousands to safer locations.

Regency authorities have pointed the finger at illegal logging in Leuser Mountain National Park as the main cause for the disaster.

Langkat Mayor Syamsul Arifin said that those responsible for logging are the true culprits of this tragedy. (BR)

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