JAKARTA, June 12 (Xinhua) -- Floods and landslides have lashed Southeast Sulawesi province in central Indonesia, triggering massive evacuation and infrastructure damages, a disaster agency official said on Wednesday.
A total of 5,703 people have been taking shelter at higher grounds as days of torrential rains poured down across Konawe Utara district, swelling three rivers of Lalindu, Walasola and Landawe that burst their banks and inundating communities, spokesman of national disaster management agency Sutopo Purwo Nugroho said.
The natural disaster has been striking the area since last week after a two-day heavy downpour, still the downside risks keep worsening until Wednesday, Sutopo told Xinhua in a text message.
As 202 houses were swept away by the current, four bridges and a road were destroyed during the natural disaster, while 970.3 hectares of rice fields, 83 hectares and 420 hectares of fish pond were submerged, triggering a huge economic loss to the district, he said.
Besides, the strong current and damages have isolated three villages, making distribution of aids difficult, Sutopo said.
Emergency relief efforts are getting underway, including distribution of aids, setting up tents for evacuees, providing medical aids and services and others, he said.
In general, the spokesman said that the distribution of aids was hampered by cutting off roads and telecommunication while heavy rains keep pouring down.
A helicopter and a plane were dispatched to address the problem, he added.
Medical services, foods, baby foods, tents, mattresses are among the dire needs of the affected people, the agency said.
Separately, in Kutai Kertanegara of East Kalimantan province in central Indonesia, floods and landslides have also affected over 16,000 people.
The poor drainage system and landscape were blamed for the natural disaster, Environmental and Forestry Minister Siti Nurbaya said on Wednesday.
Indonesia has been frequently hit by floods and landslides during heavy downpours.