18 Mar 2019

Search continues for survivors of Papua floods

5:00 pm on 18 March 2019

The search is continuing in Indonesia's Papua Province for people missing after major floods at the weekend.

Local authorities said 68 people are confirmed to have died from the floods near the provincial capital Jayapura.

The aftermath of deadly flash flooding in Sentani, Papua, 17 March 2019.

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

Heavy rain over the weekend caused flooding and landslides and authorities report over 1000 people have been evacuated to safety.

A reporter in Jayapura, Victor Mambor, said it is still raining and the search and rescue operation is underway to look for survivors.

He said it was difficult for the disaster teams as many main roads between the affected areas are blocked from landslides and bridges are damaged.

"Yeah they are still looking for the people and for the bodies. And also looking for the hundreds of people that are still stuck in their homes or their offices. And they want to, they are trying to bring them to the safety place."

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 getting access to affected areas had been 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.