The death toll from flash floods in Indonesia and neighbouring Timor-Leste rose to at least 100 on Monday as authorities warned of more danger from looming extreme weather conditions until 9 April.
Tropical Cyclone Seroja, packing heavy winds, dumped heaps of rain on islands stretching from Flores Island in Indonesia to Timor-Leste and is now moving towards Australia.
Dramatic visuals from the Southeast Asian nations showed a huge iron bridge being swept into a torrent of water, buildings washing away and houses collapsing in gushing floodwaters.
In Indonesia alone, at least 73 people have died with another 70 missing, while at least 27 people died in Timor-Leste. More than 400 people have been displaced in Jakarta, officials said.
Timor-Leste is a small island nation, between Indonesia and Australia, with a population of 1.3 million.
“The mud and the extreme weather have become a serious challenge and the debris piling up has hampered the search and rescue team,” Raditya Djati, spokesperson of Indonesian Disaster Mitigation Agency told reporters.
“We suspect many people are buried but it’s not clear how many are missing,” another official from East Flores disaster agency said.
In Indonesia, most areas will have probably experience extreme weather between 3 April to 9 April, the Indonesian National Board for Disaster Management Agency (BNPB) said citing a report by the country’s meteorological agency.
The disaster agency warned more downpours are expected over the next day and there was a threat from offshore waves as high as 6m.
Rescue work was hampered by broken bridges and damaged roads after flooding and landslides ravaged the transport system, restricting the movement of heavy equipment and machinery.