Extreme weather triggered by a tropical cyclone could potentially threaten eastern Indonesia over the next few days while the death toll from related flash flooding has risen to 128, the country's disaster agency said Tuesday.
In a press statement, National Disaster Mitigation Agency spokesman Raditya Jati said 72 others remain unaccounted for, and 8,424 have been displaced following the floods brought on by torrential rain on Sunday.
The deadly rainfall has also wreaked havoc in neighboring East Timor, killing 27, with eight others still missing, according to government figures. Parts of the country's capital Dili are under water and without power, while 8,000 people have been displaced.
According to the agency, the flash floods have affected 10 regencies and a city that straddles East Nusa Tenggara and West Nusa Tenggara provinces.
Most of those killed were buried under mud carried by the floodwaters. At least 2,000 homes were damaged, with dozens covered by mud and debris.
Efforts to evacuate victims have been hampered as damaged bridges and mudslides have cut off access to roads. Heavy seas have also hindered rescue efforts for those living on tiny islands.
The Meteorological, Climatological and Geophysical Agency said the extreme weather in eastern Indonesia, transitioning from a rainy season to a dry season, was triggered by tropical cyclone Seroja.
According to the weather agency, the cyclone will strengthen within the next 24 hours, focusing around the Indian Ocean and moving away from Indonesia to the southeast toward Australia.
Having arrived in eastern Indonesia on Saturday, the cyclone has brought heavy rain with strong winds and waves up to 6 meters high.