JAKARTA, Indonesia – Rescuers searching through mud and debris left by flash floods in central Indonesia found 23 more bodies on Tuesday, bringing to 57 the number of people killed in the disaster, officials said.
The local government scrambled to provide food, shelter and medicine to more than 5,400 people made homeless by the flooding in Jember district. Heavy weekend rains triggered flash floods that sent mud, water and logs crashing into villages late Sunday and early Monday, destroying hundreds of buildings.
"I thought it was the end of the world when the floods attacked houses and shops in my village," said Jumiin, a survivor sheltering at a local school. Jumiin goes by a single name. "Thank God, we managed to save ourselves."
Survivors were staying in schools, mosques and government buildings in Jember district, in the east of the country's main island of Java.
"Emergency supplies have been sent to the refugees including rice and noodles, and they will be treated by paramedics as needed," local government spokesman Edi Susilo said.
Police, villagers and student volunteers working with their bare hands and basic agricultural tools had recovered the bodies of 57 people by early Tuesday, said Susilo.
He said it was likely that the death toll would rise further.
Heavy tropical downpours cause dozens of landslides and flash floods each year in Indonesia.
Jember is about 540 miles east of Jakarta.