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Death toll from Indonesian floods rises to 62

The death toll from floods and landslides that occurred over the weekend in West Sumatra province, Indonesia, rose to 62 on Wednesday (15), according to authorities. At the same time, rescue teams are still searching for 25 people who are missing in areas close to rivers.

Authorities said some of the people who were missing were found dead during the day, bringing the death toll from 58 reported in the morning.

Video shared by national disaster management agency BNPB showed logs, rocks and mud strewn across roads, bridges and collapsed houses in Tanah Datar, one of three West Sumatra districts hit by floods.

The disaster hit the area on Saturday night (11), when heavy rains triggered flash floods, landslides and cold lava flows – a mud-like mixture of volcanic ash, rock debris and water.

The cold lava flow came from Mount Marapi, one of Sumatra's most active volcanoes. Its eruption in December killed more than 20 people and other eruptions have occurred since then.

BNPB will continue to search for missing people and clear main roads, its chief Suharyanto said in a statement on Wednesday

Sisters Fitrawanis, 64, and Nurbaiti, 66, tearfully watched the ruins of their brother's house in Tanah Datar. They said their brother, Rusdi, 60, is still missing after water washed away him when he tried to save his mother-in-law.

“I hope his body can be found quickly, dead or alive,” Fitrawanis told Reuters. She said Rusdi's in-laws and wife were found dead.

At least 249 houses, 225 hectares of land including rice fields, 19 bridges and most main roads were damaged in the three districts and one city.

Indonesia's meteorological agency, BMKG, said it planned to try to mitigate heavy rain forecast for next week in West Sumatra through “cloud seeding” to prevent rain in the worst-affected areas.

Widely used in Indonesia, cloud seeding involves shooting salt flames into clouds to cause rain in dry areas.

Source: CNN Brasil

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