This file image shows a little boy washing laundry while surrounded by silt and mud after flash floods in Kamulyan Village in Banyumas, Central Java, Indonesia, June 20, 2016. (Photo by AFP)
Heavy rains in Indonesia have caused the death of at least 20 people on the island of Java as the monsoon season approaches the island country.
Sutopo Purwo Nugroho, a spokesman for Indonesia’s National Disaster Management Mitigation Agency, said on Wednesday that the death toll could rise as several people were still missing in West Java’s Garut and Sumedang districts.
About 1,000 villagers have been evacuated from their homes and relocated to make-shift shelters and army barracks, Nugroho said.
Garut is said to be the worst-hit area, where two rivers overflowed on Tuesday night, leaving 16 villagers dead and eight others still missing.
In Sumedang, three villagers died and one person went missing after mudslides buried two houses.
Each year, torrential rains during the monsoon seasons, first from January to March and then from October to December, frequently result in widespread flooding across much of Indonesia.
Heavy raining also triggers landslides, which cause huge losses of human life and livestock as well as property damage.
On December 26, 2004, an earthquake triggered a tsunami, which swamped the northern and western coastal areas of Indonesia’s Sumatra Island, hitting the province of Aceh the hardest. According to the country’s National Disaster Relief Coordination Agency, 250,000 people were killed and 37,063 others went missing in the disaster.