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Since floods and landslides swept away villages in Indonesia and East Timor, killing more than 150 people and displacing thousands more, rescuers have been looking for hundreds of people still missing.

On Tuesday, rescue efforts continued as torrential rains from Tropical Cyclone Seroja turned small villages into mudslides, uprooted trees, and forced about 10,000 people to seek refuge in neighboring Southeast Asian countries.

In a cluster of remote islands near East Timor, Indonesia’s disaster management agency said it had reported 130 deaths, with another 27 officially identified as dead.

Search and rescue teams in Indonesia were using diggers to clear mountains of rubble as they raced to locate more than 70 people still missing.

Buildings in some villages on Lembata island were washed down a mountainside and to the ocean’s edge by the hurricane.

Authorities said they were scrambling to provide shelter for evacuees while also attempting to avoid the spread of COVID-19.

“These evacuees fled here with just wet clothes on their backs and nothing else,” said the area’s Deputy Mayor Thomas Ola Longaday.

“They need blankets, pillows, mattresses and tents.”


As the number of injured grew, the region’s meager health facilities were expected to be overwhelmed.

“We don’t have enough anaesthesiologists and surgeons, but we’ve been promised that help will come,” Longaday said. “Many survivors have broken bones because they were hit by rocks, logs and debris.”


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