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Last Updated: Monday, 3 November, 2003, 10:23 GMT
Dozens killed in Sumatra flood
A flash flood on the Indonesian island of Sumatra has left at least 65 people dead - five of them foreign tourists.

Torrential rains caused the flood which hit an area popular with tourists near the capital of the North Sumatra region, Medan.

A local official blamed logging for stripping the land and making flooding much more severe.

There are only 10% of the houses left
Leo Zwetsloot
Dutch tourist

Leo Zwetsloot, a Dutch tourist staying in the area, told BBC News Online that the flooding also caused a landslide, with huge trees being swept down river and knocking down bridges and houses.

"There are only 10% of the houses left, we just see huge piles of trees that have been swept down by the water," he said.

Langkat District Chief Syamsul Arifin told reporters that more than 60 bodies had been found.

"The flood was caused by massive logging in the Leuser national park," he said, referring to a nearby park.

Rescue officials in the Bohorok area near Medan said that other people were missing after the incident, which happened on Sunday night.

One survivor, who identified himself only as Hendri, said he had witnessed his parents drown in the torrent.

He said that he had also been swept away: "The logs and rocks hit my body and turned me black and blue. I survived when neighbours pulled me out of the river."

Bohorok lies next to a large river which flows down from nearby mountains.

It is home to an Orang-utan reserve which attracts thousands of tourists every year, most of whom stay in cheap guesthouses overlooking the river.

One local worker said a number of guesthouses had been swept away completely.

"It was so fast," Mega Sembiring was quoted by The Associated Press as saying over the telephone.

"It... washed away everything within just minutes. I myself saw three houses get totally destroyed and washed away," the witness said.


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WATCH AND LISTEN
The BBC's Tim Johnston
"The beginning of the wet season has again brought tragedy"



SEE ALSO:
Flash floods: The deadly force of nature
18 May 01  |  Science/Nature
Clock ticking for Indonesian rainforest
30 Aug 02  |  Asia-Pacific
Floods hit Jakarta
13 Feb 03  |  Asia-Pacific
Country profile: Indonesia
06 Jun 03  |  Country profiles


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