Death toll from Papua flash flooding now at 68

The aftermath of deadly flash flooding in Sentani, Papua, 17 March 2019. - Photo: Tabloid Jubi

The death toll in Indonesia's Papua provinces has risen to 68 after heavy rain at the weekend triggered landslides and floods near the provincial capital.

On Sunday, police in Jayapura said 50 people had died, and they have confirmed that number is now at 68.

The Indonesian Red Cross said more than nine districts near the Papua New Guinea border had been affected.

The charity is helping the government with search and rescue efforts, treating the injured and providing relief supplies.

Rosemarie North of the International Federation of Red Cross said the flooding has affected a large area near Jayapura and the death toll was expected to rise as more assessments are done today.

Ms North said roads were blocked and some bridges were damaged making access difficult.

"In Indonesia what often happens is that flash floods originate from a landslide that blocks or creates a natural dam upstream in the river. And the dam will kind of collapse after high intensity rain in that area and release suddenly a high volume of water.

"So it's quite a frightening thing to happen."

Rosemarie North said the situation was serious and hundreds of people had been evacuated from their homes and several houses were destroyed.

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