Indonesia Readies Hospital Ships For Cyclone Survivors
Sumaira FH 4 days ago Wed 07th April 2021 | 09:30 AM
Lembata, Indonesia, April 7 (UrduPoint / Pakistan Point News - 7th Apr, 2021 ) :Indonesia's navy readied hospital ships Wednesday to help treat injured survivors of a cyclone that has killed over 150 in the archipelago and neighbouring East Timor, the disaster agency said.
Helicopters were also dropping food and other essentials into remote villages, as rescuers turned to sniffer dogs in the hunt for dozens still missing after weekend floods and landslides devastated the Southeast Asian nations.
Torrential rains from Tropical Cyclone Seroja, one of the most destructive storms to hit the region in years, turned small communities into wastelands of mud, uprooted trees and sent around 10,000 people fleeing to shelters.
Indonesia's disaster agency said sniffer dogs would hunt through mountains of debris and rubble in the hopes of finding the bodies of some 76 still-missing victims -- and any survivors.
About 120 people have been listed as dead in a remote cluster of islands at the eastern end of the archipelago.
Its capital Dili was inundated, with the front of its presidential palace transformed into a mud pit.
Rescuers have spent the past few days using diggers and shovels to extract mud-covered corpses from the debris.
Hospitals, bridges and thousands of homes were damaged or destroyed by the storm, which flattened scores of small villages.
Authorities in both countries were also battling to avoid a spread of Covid-19 in crammed evacuation shelters.
East Timor quickly shut its borders last year to avoid a widespread outbreak that threatened to overwhelm its creaky health care system.
Fatal landslides and flash floods are common across the Indonesian archipelago during the rainy season.
January saw floods hit the Indonesian town of Sumedang in West Java, killing 40 people.
And last September, at least 11 people were killed in landslides on Borneo.
The disaster agency has estimated that 125 million Indonesians -- nearly half of the country's population -- live in areas at risk of landslides.
The disasters are often caused by deforestation, according to environmentalists.