Indonesia and East Timor – Dozens Dead or Missing After Heavy Rain Triggers Floods and Landslides

Over 80 people are thought to have died and dozens are reported as missing after flash floods and landslides ravaged parts of West and East Nusa Tenggara Provinces in Indonesia and the neighbouring country of East Timor.

According to Indonesia’s meteorological agency BMKG, the city of Kupang, capital of East Nusa Tenggara Province situated on the island of Timor, recorded well over 500mm of rain in 48 hours to 05 April.

Floods and landslides in Flores, Indonesia, April 2021. Photo: BPBD Kabupaten Flores Timur

East Nusa Tenggara Province, Indonesia

Heavy rain from 03 April caused flooding in several parts of East Nusa Tenggara Province in Indonesia, affecting the regencies of East Flores, Lembata and East Sumba and the capital city Kupang.

East Flores Regency

Indonesia’s disaster authority BNPB reported severe flash floods struck in the early hours of 04 April 2021 in East Flores Regency, East Nusa Tenggara Province.

BNPB said that several villages across the four districts of Ile Boleng, East Adonara, Wotan Ulu Mado and Adonara Barat.

As of 05 April, damage assessments were ongoing but had so far revealed at least 44 people had died and 24 were missing. Several people have been injured and over 250 people displaced. A total of 17 houses were swept away or destroyed and a further 60 submerged in mud and flood waters. Five bridges have been damaged or destroyed and roads cut at 4 points.

Lembata Regency

Severe flooding also struck in parts of Lembata Regency of East Nusa Tenggara province on 04 April 2021.

The Regional Disaster Management Agency (BPBD) of Lembata Regency reported that 11 people had died and 16 people were missing after flash flooding in 3 villages of Ile Ape District, and 3 villages in East Ile Ape District.

East Sumba Regency

Flooding from 04 April affected the four districts of Kambera, Pandawai, Karera and Wulawujelu in East Sumba Regency, displacing 165 people from 54 families.

Kupang City

Severe weather including strong winds, rough seas and heavy rain also affected parts of Kupang City. Disaster authorities said homes were damaged and 2,190 people affected.

West Nusa Tenggara Province, Indonesia

Heavy rain also caused flooding in parts of the neighbouring province of West Nusa Tenggara, in particular in Bima Regency.

Bima Regency

Regional Disaster Management Agencies said that Bima Regency saw 9 hours of torrential rain on 03 April which resulted in flooding in 29 villages across the districts of Madapangga, Bolo, Woha and Monta.

As of 04 April a total of 27,808 people were affected and 2 fatalities reported. Approximately 9,245 houses were submerged, 12 of which were severely damaged. Four bridges were also damaged.

Floods Bima Regency Indonesia, April 2021. Photo: BPBD Bima Regency

East Timor

Heavy rain also caused severe flooding and landslides in parts of East Timor, including in the capital, Dili.

In a statement of 05 April, the government said that floods occurred in various parts of the country causing severe material damage, leaving thousands of people homeless. At least 27 people have died and 8 missing. Thirteen of the fatalities occurred in Dili, where 7,000 people have been displaced.

Roads have been cut and power and water supply interrupted. Authorities have mobilized efforts to provide shelter, food and relief supplies to affected areas.

The Prime Minister, Taur Matan Ruak, expressed his “solidarity with the affected population and condolences to the families of the victims of the severe floods”. He said that the government will make every effort to help families affected by this natural disaster.

Severe flooding struck in Dili in March 2020, destroying around 200 homes.