JAKARTA, Dec. 30 (Xinhua) -- Floods caused by torrential rains have forced 17,648 people to flee home and take shelters in Tebing Tinggi city in North Sumatra, Indonesia, a local official said on Monday.
Two rivers bloated by days of heavy rains burst their banks in the city and submerged 4,457 houses, said Wahid Sitorus, head of disaster management and mitigation agency.
"The 17,648 people can not stay at their homes flooded in by surging waters, now the houses are submerged by up to one meter. Only one of family members comes to check house safety periodically," he told Xinhua by phone from Tebing Tinggi city.
"Most of the evacuees escape to safe grounds, taking shelter at make-shift tents and the houses of their relatives," said Sitorus.
Emergency relief aid, including food and medicine have been disbursed to the affected areas, he said.
The official said that the floods have hit the area since Dec. 28 and may spread to higher grounds as the rains remain in the upstream areas of the rivers.
Sitorus said that there were no casualties during the disaster.
Seasonal downpours have often incurred floods each year in Indonesia, a chain of 17,500 islands.
Several areas in Indonesia have been hit by widespread floods in recent days.