Tropical Cyclone Seroja has caused flooding and landslides in the main provinces of Indonesia and neighbouring East Timor, killing at least 157 people, while dozens more are considered missing, according to a new toll released on Tuesday.
In the Indonesian province of East Nusa Tenggara alone, the death toll has increased to 128 as of late Monday, with 72 others missing and 8,424 residents rendered homeless, national news agency AntaraNews reported.
At least 27 people were killed, eight people reported missing, and over 7,000 displaced in East Timor, mostly in the capital Dili, due to flash floods and landslides, Fidelis Magalhaes, a minister, said in a statement. Rescue teams are still searching for the missing people in remote islands of southeast Indonesia on Tuesday, authorities stated.
The typhoon has done serious infrastructure damage to almost 119 homes and 14 public facilities. "Most people that fled their homes are found in East Sumba reaching 7,212 (1,803 families), 958 in Lembata, 672 people (153 families) in Rote Ndao, 284 people (63 families) in West Sumba, and 256 in East Flores," Head of the Center for Disaster Data, Information, and Communication at the National Disaster Mitigation Agency (BNPB), Raditya Jati, stated in Jakarta on Tuesday.
Meanwhile, the European Union has expressed readiness to assist poverty-stricken East Timor, also known as Timor-Leste, reports AFP. "The catastrophic floods come at a time when Timor-Leste is working hard to contain the spread of Covid-19 among its population, putting a considerable additional strain both on resources and on the Timorese people," the EU said.
The Meteorology, Climatology, and Geophysics Agency (BMKG) forecasted that the cyclone Seroja will intensify within the next 24 hours and move towards the southwest in the Indian Ocean and Australia's west coast, away from Indonesian territory. However, the southwest movement will cause moderate to heavy intensity rain with lightning or strong gusts in East Nusa Tenggara, West Nusa Tenggara, South Sulawesi, Central Sulawesi, Southeast Sulawesi, and Maluku. BMKG has issued warnings of extreme weather conditions in most Indonesian provinces.