Tropical cyclone kills at least 97 in Indonesia and East Timor

MALAKA, INDONESIA: Floods and landslides triggered by tropical cyclone Seroja in a cluster of islands in south-east Indonesia and East Timor have killed at least 97 people, with many unaccounted for and thousands displaced, officials said yesterday.

Some 70 deaths were reported in several islands in Indonesia's West and East Nusa Tenggara provinces, while 70 others were missing after the cyclone brought flash floods, landslides and strong winds amid heavy rain over the weekend, disaster agency BNPB said.

In East Timor, which shares the Timor island with Indonesia, at least 27 people were killed by landslides, flash floods and a falling tree, while 7,000 have been displaced, its government said. On Lembata island, the authorities feared bodies had been washed away.

"We are using rubber boats to find bodies at sea. In several villages, flash floods hit while people were sleeping," Mr Thomas Ola Langoday, deputy head of Lembata district governmentsaid. - REUTERS