Cyclone Seroja: At least 157 dead in Indonesia, East Timor

By Umar Idris and Omer Faruk Yildiz

JAKARTA/KUALA LUMPUR (AA) – At least 157 people have died, dozens more are missing, and thousands have been rendered homeless after a tropical cyclone battered Indonesia and neighboring East Timor, authorities said on Tuesday.

The death toll stands at 67 in Lembata regency, 49 in East Flores, 12 in Alor, according to Raditya Jati, a spokesperson for the Indonesia’s disaster management agency.

There are at least six children among the fatalities in Indonesia, the official added.

“At least 72 people are still missing – 28 in Alor, 23 in East Flores, and 21 people in Lembata regency,” Jati said in a statement, adding that search and rescue efforts are ongoing.

He said 8,424 people have been displaced in five regencies in the East Nusa Tenggara (NTT) province, while 2,683 more were affected by flash floods and landslides triggered after Cyclone Seroja hit the island on Sunday.

Heavy rain that continued for nine hours caused dams in four sub-districts to overflow, inundating houses and rice fields.

The possibility of extreme weather conditions will remain until at least April 9, according to Indonesia’s Meteorology, Climatology, and Geophysics Agency.

In East Timor, flash floods and landslides have killed at least 27 people and displaced over 7,000, mostly in the capital Dili.

At least eight people are still missing, Fidelis Magalhaes, a government minister, said in a statement.

* Writing by Dilan Pamuk in Ankara and Rhany Chairunissa Rufinaldo from Anadolu Agency's Indonesian language services in Jakarta. Pizzaro Idrus and Nicky Widadio contributed to this story from Jakarta.