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Aid is airlifted to flooded Sumatra

Storm's death toll hits 87 as tens of thousands flee their homes. The U.N. pledges $2 million.

December 26, 2006|From the Associated Press

BANDA ACEH, INDONESIA — Indonesia rushed tents, food and other emergency aid to flood-ravaged parts of Sumatra on Monday while the United Nations pledged $2 million to help survivors.

Soldiers loaded the aid into a military cargo plane in the Indonesian capital, Jakarta.

It will be distributed by helicopters because the floods, which were triggered by days of heavy rain, have washed away roads and bridges in the worst-hit area of Tamiyang in eastern Aceh province, said Syamsul Maarif, the executive director of the National Coordination Body for Disaster Response.

A view from a flight over the region on Sunday showed many houses submerged, while only the roofs of others were visible.

Some families were trapped on the roofs of their homes.

The death toll was at least 87, with dozens others reported missing.

About 110,000 people had been forced to flee their homes and were staying in tents, government buildings or with relatives, said Burhanuddin, an Aceh government spokesman, who goes by a single name.

Ahmad Zakir, a government scientist, said rain had stopped falling over the affected regions, but light drizzle was possible.

The U.N. said it would provide an initial $2 million in emergency relief to the region from its Central Emergency Response Fund.

Aceh was the region worst hit by the Asian tsunami two years ago today, but this week's flooding was in areas unaffected by that disaster.

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