Indonesia floods: Death toll rises to 26, several remain missing

Authorities set up emergency shelters and temporary kitchens to assist those rendered homeless.

At least 26 people died and 19 others are still missing in flash flooding and landslides in West Java, early on Wednesday, Indonesian officials said.

According to the national disaster agency, more than a dozen children, below the age of 12, have lost their lives, however, many are yet to be formally identified.

The agency spokesman Sutopo Purwo Nugroho said in a statement that torrential rainfall triggered flash flooding in Garut in West Java. According to Sutopo, the waters quickly rose to around two metres resulting in the disaster.

The local disaster agency in Garut issued preliminary data that showed "eight people died and one person is still missing" after a river burst its banks.

"We've reported that we found 20 bodies and we've identified 15 of them," Endah Trisnawati, a member of a police disaster victims identification unit told Reuters.

Sutopo said 30 people were injured in the district including four who were in serious condition. Thousands of people were forced to abandon their houses as the water level rose.

Military personnel and volunteers have set up emergency shelters and temporary kitchens to assist the homeless people.

The heavy rainfall has also caused landslides in Semedang regency in West Java. Two people have been killed in the landslides while two more were suspected to be buried under an avalanche of mud and rock.

"The search for them continues," Sutopo told AFP.

The disaster agency of Indonesia has warned people to be alert as these kinds of disasters might occur this wet season due to a La Nina weather phenomenon that threatens unseasonably heavy rain.

Indonesia is a vast tropical archipelago which is prone to natural disasters and torrential downpours. Landslides and flooding are quite common in this country.

In June, almost 50 people died due to landslides and flash floods in Central Java, another densely-populated province on Indonesia's main island. Many people were reported missing when heavy downpours sent torrents of water, mud and rock surging into villages.

Rescue teams from the military, police, NGOs and volunteers are handling the emergency situation.

Hours of heavy rainfall triggered landslides that buried many houses in the village of Dukuh Pohkumbang in Central Java.