Floods and landslides are common in Indonesia during the rainy season, which typically runs from October to March. Sumatra island is the worst hit with environmental campaigners blaming deforestation for worsening the disaster. Torrential rains have hammered the island for days, causing rivers to burst their banks and sending water levels surging in residential areas, the national disaster agency said.
Three killed, 32,000 displaced after torrential rains and floods in Indonesia
Three people have been reportedly killed and nearly 30,000 displaced after flash floods hit Indonesia’s Aceh province, an official said Thursday. More than 11,000 homes were submerged by the floods that followed heavy rain in North Aceh district on Monday, said Abdul Muhari, spokesman for the National Disaster Management Agency. “Waters also inundated 41 hectares of rice fields,” German news agency (DPA) quoted Muhari as saying.
Environmental NGO Walhi said the flooding was worsened by deforestation to make way for Sumatra’s expansive palm oil plantations. Trees act as natural defences against floods, slowing the rate at which water runs down hills and into rivers. All the rice paddies in the area are underwater. The farmers were just about to harvest them, but crops usually die after three or four days of being completely submerged. The farmers will lose everything due to this deluge.
Parts of neighbouring Malaysia have also been inundated after heavy rains lashed the country, forcing thousands into temporary shelters. More than 50 people have died as a result of the floods across the country, which have affected the states of Selangor, Johor and Melaka, across the Strait of Malacca from Sumatra, particularly badly.