Overflowing dam kills at least 30 in Indonesia

A volunteer wades through floods at a residential area in Makassar, South Sulawesi, Indonesia, January 23, 2019 in this photo taken by Antara Foto. Picture taken January 23, 2019. Antara Foto/Sahrul Manda Tikupadang/ via REUTERS

Thousands of people have been forced to flee their villages

JAKARTA – (Reuters) – An overflowing dam has killed at least 30 people in Indonesia and forced thousands to flee their villages, authorities said on Thursday. Twenty-five people are missing.

Indonesia’s disaster mitigation agency has set up temporary shelters and field kitchens for residents fleeing floodwaters over a metre high that inundated riverside settlements in South Sulawesi province, including in the provincial capital Makassar, on Wednesday and Thursday.

“So far we have found 30 people who drowned or were caught in landslides triggered by heavy rains and when the Bili-Bili dam started overflowing,” said agency official Hasriadi.

One major highway has been blocked, prompting authorities to deliver aid via helicopter, according to media.

Aerial images showed muddy brown water covering swaths of lands and, in some areas, rushing water washing away houses and debris.

Indonesia is an archipelago of over 17,000 islands and frequently suffers natural disasters.

(Reporting by Kanupriya Kapoor; Editing by Nick Macfie)

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