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Last Updated: Thursday, 22 June 2006, 03:50 GMT 04:50 UK
Death toll increases in Sulawesi
Sulawesi floods
Heavy rain caused major flooding and destruction in the province
At least 185 people are now known to have died in flash floods and landslides in the Indonesian province of South Sulawesi.

The death toll could rise further, as rescue teams continue to find bodies.

More than 120 people are still missing after the floods, and rescuers fear many of them were swept out to sea.

Heavy rains frequently hit tropical Indonesia, triggering floods and landslides, and environmentalists say deforestation can add to the problem.

The floods affected at least seven districts in the province of South Sulawesi, the worst hit area being the district of Sinjai, where at least 175 people are thought to have died.

One man at Sinjai hospital told the Associated Press that he was swept out to sea when the floodwaters tore through his house early on Tuesday morning.

He survived for nine hours, hanging onto a piece of wood. His wife and two sons, though, are still missing.

Disease risk

Rahman Bando, head of the South Sulawesi branch of the Indonesian Red Cross, said rescue workers were still unable to reach several areas.

"Bridges and roads are broken. We walk in the rivers," he told Reuters news agency.

Rescue worker Moersen Buana also told reporters that diarrhoea and skin diseases were already a problem among local villagers.

"Sanitation is becoming a problem. People can't use regular toilets because water systems are totally destroyed," he said.

Flash floods and landslides usually happen earlier in the year, at the height of the monsoon season.

More than 120 people lost their lives in two separate landslides on Java in January.


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SEE ALSO
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20 Apr 06 |  Asia-Pacific
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