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Indonesia's military seeds rain clouds as flooding kills 53

Indonesia's military seeds rain clouds as flooding kills 53
Indonesian rescuers hose an area in order to wash away mud and debris while searching for missing people after a landslide in the Cigudeg village, Bogor region, West Java, Indonesia, on Saturday. Photo by Agung Praseyto/EPA-EFE

Jan. 4 (UPI) -- Indonesia's military conducted an operation to seed clouds to prevent more rain from falling as the death toll from flooding in the Southeast Asian country reached 53 Saturday.

Five days of heavy rains have inundated the greater Jakarta region, submerging at least 182 neighborhoods. Landslides have also plagued the capital, killing at least one dozen people.

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The National Disaster and Mitigation Agency said two people died in Lebo Village on Sangihe Island after they were washed away by floodwaters. Officials identified the dead as and 83-year-old and an 18-year-old.

"There is a possibility that the number of injured villagers and damaged buildings will increase. The rain has eased today. Local administration officials, military personnel, police and volunteers are helping the evacuation process and cleaning away debris carried by the flood and landslide," a spokesman for the agency, Agus Wibowo, said.

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Forecasters expect extreme weather in the island nation for at least another week. In an effort to limit rainfall in the affected region, the Indonesian air force conducted an operation to seed rain clouds with salt friday. Shooting the clouds can create artificial rain before they reach Jakarta.

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The air force planned to seed clouds at least three times.

Since the floods started, nearly 400,000 people have sought safety in shelters in Jakarta. Jakarta residents used boats to navigate the city, some parts of which were under 19 feet of water.

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"In north Jakarta, the worst flooding was in the Teluk Gong area and residents have not received any help even two days on," said Gugun Muhammad, a community organizer, told The Guardian. "These floods are the worst in over a decade in terms of scale and volume of water."

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