March 20, 2019 / 9:54 AM / a month ago

Indonesia's Papua set for mass burial as flood death toll tops 100

People stand as they look at damaged houses after a flash flood in Sentani, Papua, Indonesia, March 17, 2019 in this photo taken by Antara Foto. Antara Foto/Gusti Tanati/ via REUTERS

JAKARTA (Reuters) - Indonesia’s easternmost province of Papua is planning to hold mass burials for the victims of flash floods, as the death toll from the disaster rose to 104 on Wednesday with nearly 10,000 people displaced, the disaster mitigation agency said.

The floods and landslides injured 160 people, 85 of them seriously, while 79 people were missing, said Sutopo Purwo Nugroho, a spokesman for the agency.

After consulting families and churches, a mass funeral for the victims would be held on Thursday, he said.

The floods and landslide struck at the weekend near the provincial capital of Jayapura after torrential rain fell across the Cyclops mountain range, much of which has been stripped of trees by villagers chopping fire wood and farmers cultivating plantations.

Disaster authorities had warned provincial officials of the danger of flash floods due to deforestation.

Fourteen excavators had been deployed to help clear blocked roads, while temporary bridges were also being built in some areas after access had been cut.

The nearly 10,000 displaced people were scattered across 18 relief shelters and they would be moved to six camps to help streamline aid distribution, the spokesman said.

Reporting by Ed Davies; Editing by Robert Birsel

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