After seeing floods, Indonesian leader to visit quake zone

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MAMUJU, Indonesia (AP) – Rescuers worked Tuesday to clear rubble from collapsed buildings on an Indonesian island where a deadly earthquake left thousands homeless.

The 6.2 magnitude earthquake on Friday that killed at least 84 people was one of multiple recent disasters in Indonesia.

President Joko Widodo visited a flood-affected area on the island of Borneo on Monday and was scheduled to visit the earthquake-affected areas of West Sulawesi province on Tuesday to reassure people that the government reaches people in difficulty after the earthquake.

The National Search and Rescue Agency has counted at least 30,000 survivors who have moved to shelters in the hard-hit town of Mamuju and its neighboring district of Majene in West Sulawesi, as the government and agencies of Helpers have pooled their efforts to meet the survival needs of the affected communities. .

Four days after the disaster, the streets of the provincial capital, Mamuju, were still covered with debris and most people slept outside, fearing their homes would collapse if strong aftershocks occurred.

Sniffer dogs were again used on Tuesday to search for bodies and possible survivors in Mamuju, a town of nearly 300,000 people littered with debris from collapsed buildings. The governor’s office building was nearly flattened, and a mall was reduced to a crumpled hulk.

Before arriving in Mamuju on Tuesday, Widodo mobilized the army and police to support rescue and relief operations.

The president visited the flood-affected areas in Borneo’s South Kalimantan province on Monday, the island known for its rainforests and orangutans where flooding since last week has inundated several areas. The floods killed several villagers and forced tens of thousands of people to flee their homes. Flooding has also been reported in many other provinces of the vast archipelago country.

Widodo said the rains caused flooding in South Kalimantan, but environmentalists blame deforestation by the mining, palm oil and agricultural industries.

The earthquake and flooding follow a deadly landslide in West Java on January 9 that left 40 people buried in tons of mud. On the same day, a Sriwijaya Air jet plunged into the Java Sea, killing all 62 people on board.

Indonesia also began immunizing health workers with a COVID-19 vaccine last week as part of a campaign that aims to immunize two-thirds of the population in the world’s fourth most populous country. It has confirmed more than 917,000 infections and 26,000 deaths from the pandemic, most of them in Southeast Asia.

And on Saturday, in another part of the country, Mount Semeru, the highest volcano on Indonesia’s most densely populated island of Java, spat hot clouds up to 4.5 kilometers (nearly 3 miles) miles). The rash caused panic but no apparent casualties.

Indonesia, home to more than 260 million people, is bordered by earthquake faults and is frequently struck by earthquakes, volcanic eruptions and tsunamis.

____

Karmini reported from Jakarta.

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