Indonesian Prez visits cyclone-hit region as toll hits 165

JAKARTA, Oct. 20, 2019 (Xinhua) — Indonesian President Joko Widodo (C) speaks at the inauguration ceremony in Jakarta, Indonesia, Oct. 20, 2019. (Xinhua/Pang Xinglei/IANS)

Jakarta, April 9 (IANS) Indonesian President Joko Widodo on Friday visited the East Nusa Tenggara province, where cyclone-related disasters have left at least 165 people dead and 45 others missing.

Soon after the presidential aircraft landed at Sikka airport, Joko took a helicopter ride to Lambata island, where heavy rains triggered an avalanche of volcanic debris on Sunday, reports dpa news agency.

“We will spare no effort to make sure that those still missing are found,” Joko said.

“But I’m seeing for myself that rocky terrain is making things difficult,” he said.

He promised survivors that they would be relocated to safer locations, where homes would be built “as soon as possible.”

“I personally and on behalf of the government would like to express my deep condolences for the loss of lives and may those left behind be given fortitude,” he said.

In comments before departure, Joko said he wanted to make sure regional heads have access to and monitor weather forecasts so they know what is happening and can alert citizens about threats.

The National Disaster Management Agency said landslides and floods triggered by the cyclone killed at least 165 people, while 45 others were still missing.

Badly hit areas include Adonara island, Lembata, Alor, Malaka, and the provincial capital, Kupang.

The severe weather has also killed at least 27 people in neighbouring East Timor, the country’s government said.

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