Weather agency head Dwikorita Karnawati said once-rare tropical cyclones were happening more often in Indonesia and climate change could be to blame.
“Seroja is the first time we’re seeing tremendous impact because it hit the land. It’s not common,” she told a news conference.
In nearby West Nusa Tenggara province, authorities on Monday said two had died, while in neighboring country East Timor at least 27 gesterf het.
Some residents of Lembata island may have been washed away by mud into the sea. The deputy head of the district hoped help was on the way.
“We were only able to search on the seashore, not in the deeper area, because of lack of equipment yesterday,” Thomas Ola Langoday told Reuters by phone.
Lembata suffered a volcano eruption last month, wiping out vegetation atop the mountain, which allowed hardened lava to slide towards 300 houses when the cyclone struck, hy het gesê.
Langoday feared many bodies were still buried under large rocks.
President Joko Widodo held a cabinet meeting on Tuesday to speed up evacuation and relief efforts and the restoration of power.
“If we cannot reach there by road, I ask that we swiftly open the access by sea as well as by air,” het die president gesê, adding that extreme weather had hampered aid distribution.
Search and rescue agency chief Doni Monardo on Tuesday said help was on the way from the military and volunteers.
Monardo said there were health concerns about evacuation centers getting overcrowded and that authorities would provide rapid COVID-19 testing kits to try to prevent an outbreak.