Indonesia flash floods; 37 killed

At least 37 people have been killed in flash floods and landslides in Indonesia’s western province of West Sumatra due to heavy rains. Many people are missing. The provincial rescue team chief said that the search for them is going on. It is reported that the number of deaths and damage is likely to increase.

There were floods in rivers and landslides in many places. Along with the flood, the cold lava flow of the volcano was spreading. Authorities advised people to move to safer places. The National Disaster Response Force is involved in rescue operations. The cause of the disaster is a cold lava flow known as a lahar, a mixture of volcanic material and cobblestones, that flows down the slopes of the volcano during monsoons.

At 10:30 local time (15:30 GMT) on Saturday night, the natural disaster struck Agam and Tanah Datar districts in West Sumatra province, a government agency said in a statement, after 15 people were killed in landslides and floods in South Sulawesi last week. Saturday’s flood flowed cold lava from Mount Merapi, Sumatra’s most active volcano and one of 130 active volcanoes in the Indonesian archipelago.

The 2,885 m (9,465 ft) Marapi volcano erupted in December, spewing ash 3,000 m (9,800 ft) into the sky. An unexpected explosion over the weekend killed 23 climbers trapped on the mountain.