Padang Mayor Fauzi Bahar blamed illegal logging for Tuesday’s widespread flooding that inundated five sub-districts of the West Sumatra capital.
Eight people remained missing on Wednesday as search and rescue crews converged on the flood-hit region. Heavy rains caused the Lubuk Linggau and Batang Kuranji rivers to overflow on Tuesday, forcing hundreds of families to flee their homes for safety.
Fauzi pointed to the large logs send downstream in the flood as evidence of the impact of illegal logging.
“The city administration has not issued any logging licenses for the protected forest around the city,” he said.
But more than 20 percent of the 12,000 hectares of protected forest within city limits have been felled by illegal loggers, Fauzi said.
The mayor asked local villagers to report instances of illegal logging to the police.
Batu Busuk village remained isolated by flood waters Wednesday morning after a bridge leading to the village collapsed in the floods.
Padang’s city administration have sent emergency aid to help villagers until the bridge is rebuilt.