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Top Asian News 3:56 a.m. GMT

In Indonesia, deforestation is intensifying disasters from severe weather and climate change

JAKARTA, Indonesia (AP) — Roads turned to murky brown rivers, homes were swept away by strong currents and bodies were pulled from mud during deadly flash floods and landslides after torrential rains hit West Sumatra in early March, marking one of the latest deadly natural disasters in Indonesia. Government officials blamed the floods on heavy rainfall, but environmental groups have cited the disaster as the latest example of deforestation and environmental degradation intensifying the effects of severe weather across Indonesia. “This disaster occurred not only because of extreme weather factors, but because of the ecological crisis,” Indonesian environmental rights group Indonesian Forum for the Environment wrote in a statement.