MANADO, Indonesia – Flooding and landslides in northern Indonesia’s latest death toll at 15 after finding five more bodies in the mud.
The disaster sent thousands fleeing for safe ground Monday.
Families of victims poured their hearts out as they watched rescuers pull out muddy corpses out of the seven hamlets devastated by landslides and floods in Manado, Capital of North Sulawesi province.
An overflowing river flooded more than 1,000 houses.
Digging through the debris the catastrophe left were hundreds of police, soldiers and even residents, with shovels, hoes and some with their bare hands.
Hours after heavy rain caused mud and rocks to crash into hilly areas of Manado, authorities struggles to get tractors and bulldozers over washed-out roads.
Fourteen bodies were pulled from the mud and destroyed homes, including 3 children between the ages 3 and 10 and another 1 was found in water later, according to North Sulawesi police chief Brig. Gen. Dicky Atotoy. Meanwhile, 8,100 people went to temporary shelters.
Neighborhood chief Lucky Sumakud said, as the residents of Tingkulu hamlet were busy cleaning out piles of soil from a landslide that previously occurred, they were startled when suddenly mud and rocks cascaded down the hills hours later.
A mother and her 2 children were reportedly found dead cuddled together.
Sumakud added, “It was horrible … we were immediately fleeing, but some failed and were buried in the ground.”
According to Atotoy, people are forced to leave their flooded homes because rivers bloated by days of rain expanded their banks in several parts of Manado. Witnesses claimed that water levels were a yard high.
Residents tried so hard to salvage their most valuable possessions. Others were busy rescuing their elders and help them get to rooftops to wait for the floods to subside.