Indonesia: humanitarian aid arrives in islands devastated by cyclone

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Lembata | Two Indonesian navy ships carrying humanitarian aid arrived Thursday in the region of the archipelago devastated by a cyclone that killed nearly 180 people, including dozens in East Timor.

The two boats docked on the islands of Lembata and Adonara, located at the eastern end of the vast Indonesian archipelago.

Hospital ships are also en route to other islands in the region, where thousands of people are left homeless while dozens remain missing.

The torrential rains that accompanied Seroja on April 4, one of the most destructive cyclones in years in the region, forced thousands of residents to flee their homes to find refuge.

Indonesia: humanitarian aid arrives in islands devastated by cyclone

In places, crops are nothing more than a vast field of mud and uprooted trees while much of the electricity has not been restored.

In some villages on Lembata Island, where one of the ships carrying humanitarian aid arrived on Thursday, buildings on the mountainside were washed away near the ocean.

The boat was carrying food as well as blankets and equipment for the more than 20,000 evacuees in the area.

“The two navy ships arrived today,” said Kompiang Aribawa, an official at the regional naval base. “Another will arrive later today, carrying troops who will be deployed to help people recover from the disaster.”

A cargo plane also left Jakarta for the disaster area with around 100,000 masks, coronavirus testing kits, as well as food and blankets for survivors, the head of the Indonesian agency in charge said earlier. disaster management.

At least 140 people have been officially declared dead in Indonesia and 37 in East Timor, a small country of 1.3 million people wedged between Indonesia and Australia.

Indonesia: humanitarian aid arrives in islands devastated by cyclone

More than 70 people remain missing, and officials from the Indonesian Disaster Management Agency have deployed sniffer dogs to search mountains of debris for bodies and possible survivors.

Rescue workers have spent the past few days extracting mud-covered bodies using backhoes.

Hospitals, bridges and thousands of homes were damaged or destroyed by the cyclone.

The authorities of the two countries are doing everything to prevent the appearance of outbreaks of COVID-19 in evacuation centers.