At least three people have died and nearly 32,000 people have been displaced as a result of torrential rains that hit the Indonesian island of Sumatra on Thursday, according to the country’s disaster relief agency.
Flood-affected residents continued to seek shelter in mosques and public buildings.
Parts of the archipelago’s western island, particularly Jambi and Aceh provinces, have been swamped by downpours that began as the new year approached.
While severe rains create flooding every year, rescuers claimed this season’s rains were particularly heavy. Residents of the hardest-hit areas uploaded video footage on social media. Cars and residences were flooded in muddy water in North Aceh region, with people attempting to reach safety on improvised rafts.
“The floods this time were significantly bigger,” Ananda Justisiani, a representative for the Aceh-based emergency response group Aksi Cepat Tanggap, told Arab News. “They’re so bad because the rivers are overflowing and the rain intensity was higher, so the water didn’t recede.”
Flooding had also impacted other regencies in the province, including Lhokseumawe, Aceh Tamiang, Southeast Aceh, and Central Aceh, according to her.
On Thursday, the National Disaster Management Agency reported that the rising waters had displaced more than 31,800 people and confirmed three deaths, all of whom were youngsters.
Officials from Aksi Cepat Tanggap said the death toll had risen to five, with more expected as some areas remain cut off owing to heavy rain.
“The floodwaters have started to diminish in certain areas, but the majority of the territory is still under water,” Justisiani continued.
Local authorities in North Aceh have proclaimed a state of emergency until January 15.