• Flooding spreads to wider areas in Indonesia


    JAKARTA: In the past two weeks, floods and landslides have hit parts of Indonesia, particularly Java, Sumatra, Sulawesi, and Kalimantan Islands, and continue to spread further, thereby claiming more lives as torrential rains continue to lash.

    In Jakarta, the number of refugees has steeply risen from 30,784 people recorded on January 19, to 89,334 people on January 22. The death toll rose from seven to 12.

    The floods that commenced on January 14, have affected 34 subdistricts, 100 urban villages, 444 neighborhoods, 672 families, and a total of 134,662 residents in the capital city, Sutopo Purwo Nugroho, a spokesman of the National Disaster Mitigation Agency (BNPB) stated on January 21.

    In the North Sulawesi Province, the death toll due to the floods and landslides has risen to 19: six in Manado, six in Tomohon, six in Minahasa, and one in North Minahasa. In Manado alone, 85,831 people or 23,204 families were affected and over 10 thousand houses were damaged.

    Vice President Boediono and Chairman of the Indonesian Red Cross (PMI) M. Jusuf Kalla, former vice president, visited Manado on Tuesday (Jan. 21) to disburse relief aid and collect first-hand information about the damages inflicted by the natural disasters.

    In the West Java Province, incessant torrential rains have triggered floods in seven districts such as Karawang, Bandung, Bekasi, Subang, Indramayu, and Depok City, thereby inundating thousands of houses.

    Most of the floods in those districts were caused by the rivers overflowing their banks or by the breaking down of dikes.

    Thousands of houses in the Bandung Selatan district were inundated when the Citraum River overflew its banks in Baleendah.

    “Floods waters continued to expand and inundated more areas since Saturday,” noted Suherman, a resident of Cieunteung Baleendah.

    In Karawang, the worst-affected district in West Java, the local administration has declared a state of emergency as 28 out of the 30 sub-districts have been flooded in the past few days.

    In Karawang, tens of thousands of houses in 173 villages have been inundated over the past few days, after a number of rivers overflowed their banks due to the heavy rains.

    “Karawang has declared a state of emergency for the next 14 days, effective January 19,” Karawang District Head Ade Swara remarked in a press statement released on January 20.

    On January 21, President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono and First Lady Ani Yudhoyono visited Kerawang and took time to meet the evacuees and examined the on-site facilities. He also extended relief aid to the evacuees.

    Parts of the Indramayu District, also in the West Java Province, have been isolated as a result of the incessant rainfall. Flood waters, reaching a height of 1.5 meters, submerged farming areas, while the flood victims are in desperate need of clean drinking water and electricity.

    In the Bekasi District, in the same province, four elementary school students were found dead on January 20, after being swept away by the flood waters in South Tambun, two days earlier.

    The West Javas Subang District suffered material losses amounting to US$ 2.6 million or Rp32 billion due to the floods since last Friday (Jan. 17).

    “We have set up several temporary relief shelters for the people who were forced to abandon their homes due to the flooding. Each shelter is equipped with a kitchen and health service center,” reported Abdul Rahman, a spokesman of the Subang District administration.

    The 13 subdistricts inundated by the floods include Pamanukan, Pusaka Jaya, Compreng, Blanakan, Tambakdahan, Sukasari, Legon Kulon, Pabuaran, Ciasem, Pusakanagara, Patok Beusi, Pagaden, and Binong.

    In Central Java Province, the floods have submerged hundreds of homes in the Kudus and Pakalongan Districts, following incessant heavy rains that caused some rivers to overflow.

    A landslide killed 12 residents from Duku Kembangan, Menawan village, Gebog subdistrict, and Kudus, on Tuesday evening (Jan. 21). The landslide completely buried five houses and damaged three others.

    Of the 12 casualties, however, only one body was retrieved, while the rest are believed to be buried under the mud and debris, reported Suroso, head of the social affairs office of the Menawan village.

    In Pekalongan, the heavy rains that triggered a landslide and floods over the past few days displaced around seven thousand people, stated Susiyanto, a spokesman of the Pekalongan district administration on Monday (Jan. 20).

    West Nusa Tenggara was also struck by flash floods, forcing at least 917 people in the district of Sambelia, Lombok Timur, to flee to safer grounds.

    “They have chosen to evacuate due to the floods that struck yesterday, and they have now been accommodated in three shelters,” the provinces head of public relations, Tri Budiprayitno, noted on Wednesday (Jan. 22).

    The Obol-Obol, Tandongan, and Batusela rivers, located at the foot of Mount Rinjani, overflowed after incessant rains triggered flooding.

    Four bridges and a prayer house have been wrecked, while three kilometers of roads have been eroded and around 80 hectares of rice and corn fields have been inundated by the floods.

    On the Sumatra Island, several provinces including South Sumatra, West Sumatra, and Jambi, have also been inundated due to high rainfall.

    In the Tangerang District, Banten Province, at least 11 thousand houses were flooded.

    To help the victims of natural disasters such as floods, landslides, and volcanic eruption, the National Police (Polri) and the Indonesian Defense Forces (TNI) have asked their officers to be on vigil to handle the calamity.

    Some 3.5 thousand policemen from the Police Headquarters and Mobile Brigade will be soon deployed in the disaster-affected areas, Commissioner General Badrodin Haiti, the head of the Police Headquarters Security and Maintenance Department remarked in Jakarta, on Wednesday (Jan. 22).

    They will support the local police officers in their efforts to assist the natural disaster victims till March, the police officer noted.

    Meanwhile, some 19,357 military officers have been deployed to help the victims of natural disasters, which have currently struck parts of Indonesia.

    TNI Chief General Moeldoko has instructed all the military officers across Indonesia to be on high alert during the ongoing rainy season, as the country has received excess rainfall, TNI spokesman Colonel Bernardus claimed in Jakarta, on Tuesday (Jan. 21).

    Among other things, the TNI has set up flood mitigation command posts in Jakarta, West Java, Central Java, Sumatra, and Manado.

    During 2013, Indonesia was hit by 693 natural disasters, of which, there were 262 landslides, 95 flash floods, one volcano eruption, 94 whirlwinds, and 171 categorized as other disasters. PNA


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