By Mahmut Atanur
JAKARTA (AA) - At least 70 people have died and 59 others injured in floods and landslides triggered by torrential rain in Indonesia’s eastern province of Papua, the country's national disaster agency said on Sunday.
The severe flooding in the town of Sentani near the provincial capital Jayapura was caused by torrential rain and subsequent landslides on Saturday, Sutopo Purwo Nugroho, spokesman of the National Disaster Management Agency (BNDP) said in a statement.
Sixty three people died in the town of Sentani and seven in the Ampera region, according to military officials in Papua province.
Nugroho said that injured people were transported to a hospital in Jayapura.
The search and rescue operation is underway to trace the missing victims, he added.
The number of dead will likely increase since many affected areas have not been reached, Nugroho said.
Last January, 68 people had lost their lives in disaster-hit Sulawesi Island when torrential rain triggered landslides and floods.
Landslides and flooding are common in Indonesia, especially during the monsoon season between October and April, when rain lashes the vast tropical archipelago.
*Writing by Zehra Nur Duz