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floods expand in several Indonesian provinces

4th January 2013 | 2.245 Views
floods expand in several Indonesian provinces
Floods hit Medan Maimun Subdistrict, North Sumatra, this week. (ANTARA/Irsan Mulyadi)
Jakarta (ANTARA News) - Floods that have hit some parts of Indonesia since November 2012, are currently expanding in a number of provinces such as North Sumatra, West Sumatra, Jambi, South Sumatra, Gorontalo (northern Sulawesi), East Java, and Jakarta.

In North Sumatra, two people were killed and one missing when floods struck South Nias, Central Tapanuli, West Nias, and Mandailing Natal districts.

The floods affected more than 20 sub districts including Telukdalam, Fanayama, Maniamolo, Amandraya, Lahusa, Lolowau, and Gomo in South Nias District, and Barus, Andem Dewi, Manduamas, Kolang, Tapian Nauli, and Sorkam in Central Tapanuli District.

"The floods kill two, rendering another missing, and submerging thousands of houses," Sutopo Purwo Nugroho, a spokesman of the National Disaster Mitigation Agency (BNPB), said in Jakarta on December 31, 2012.

In Maniamolo and Amandraya sub districts, two people were killed after being swept away by River Eho flow that overflowed. In Telukdalam, 1,300 people have taken refuge.

A number of houses were damaged by floods In Central Tapanuli district. In West Nias District, the floodwaters reach a height of up to 3 meters.

In Mandailing Natal, a landslide triggered by a flood, buried one house which was later swept away by river flow at Lingga Bayu village. Tree people survived the disaster, but one person was missing. The local authorities have distributed relief aid for flood victims.

"The district head of South Nias has declared an emergency situation for 14 days as of Sunday (Dec 30) until January 12, 2013," he said.

In West Sumatra Province, floods hit four sub-districts of Tanjung Mutiara, Laubukbasung, Ampek Nagari and Palembayan in Agam district and incurred a loss of Rp50 billion, according to Agam district head Indra Catri on January 2, 2013. At least 1,500 families isolated due to the floods.

Floods triggered by heavy rainfall inundated at least 1,077 houses in Merangin regency, Jambi Province, Sumatra Island, during the year-end celebrations.

"Some areas have been flooded since December 29. However, during the New Year celebrations, at 1am (local time), hundreds of more houses were inundated," the head of Regional Disaster Mitigation Agency of Merangin, Afrizal, said on the phone on January 1, 2013.

At least three sub-districts in Meranti were inundated, with floodwaters reaching a height of 1-2 metres. Some 427 houses were inundated in Tanjung Ilir village and 39 in Ulak Makan village. The floodwaters also submerged a cemetery.

The floods also inundated hundreds of hectares of farming and plantation areas. "The cost of damage is estimated at Rp500 million," Afrizal said, adding "We have deployed mitigation teams to assist the SAR (Search and Rescue), police and the Indonesian Military in helping the victims."

According to local environmental activists, the floods were a result of excessive forest exploitation, especially at the Batanghari river`s headwater which serves as a water absorption area.

Another province on Sumatra Island, namely South Sumatra, was also hit by floods which affected at least six sub districts in Musi Banyuasin District, in the province, following incessant heavy rains on January 2, 2013.

On Madura Island, East Java, Floods triggered by incessant downpours inundated hundreds of houses in Blega, Bangkalan District. "Heavy rainfall over the past few days caused the Blega river to overflow," said Husin, a local resident, on January 2, 2013.

The floodwaters reached a height of up to 1.5 metres, submerging many houses, a traditional market and the Blega police office. The flood also cut off a road that connects Bangkalan and Sampang districts.

The flood has affected eight villages in Bangkalan: Sempar, Pekaan, Laok Songai, Karang Kemasan, Pong Sobah, Beng Temoran, Blega and Kaoman.

Still in East Java Province, flash floods hit several villages in Bojonegoro district and damaged hundreds of hectares of paddy fields.

"Among the affected villages are Baureno, Pesen, Simbatan, Woro and Piyak. We are still calculating the material losses from the flash floods," Bojonegoro`s Head of Disaster Mitigation Agency, Kasiyanto, said on January 2, 2013.

In Gorontalo Province, northern Sulawesi, flood inundated hundreds of houses in several parts of Gorontalo city following heavy rains. The flood affected Siendeng, Biawu and Tenda in Hulonthalangi sub district, Amir, a local resident, said on December 31, 2012.

A number of flood victims evacuated themselves to safer places because the flood could get worse. "This time the flood is very bad, forcing us to move our belongings to higher grounds," he stated.

Another province on Sulawesi Island being stricken by floods was West Sulawesi. Hundreds of families were forced to move to safer places when a flash flood hit Tarailu sub-district, Mamuju District.

"Incessant heavy rainfall since last night caused the Tarailu river to overflow, due to which hundreds of houses were submerged. Those living along the river`s banks have moved to higher grounds. No causalities have been reported so far," said Usdi, a spokesman of the Mamuju administration, West Sulawesi, on January 2, 2013.

The flood also inundated the farmlands in the area and destroyed food crops after heavy rain over the past several days.

"The hardest hit is the village of Kalonding where cacao plants over 50 hectares of plantations were destroyed", a local villager Sahrir said January 4, 2013.

In Indonesia`s capital city of Jakarta, as many as 2,425 houses particularly in Jatinegara and Kalibata sub districts, were affected by floods. The water level reached two meters. Floods had occurred because of heavy rains in the upstream areas of Bogor and Puncak, West Java.

Many officials in Jakarta are anticipating major floods, which occur once every five years. According to them, Jakarta is likely to be hit by major floods, either this year or early next year. In 2007, more than 80 people in Jakarta and its surrounding areas were killed because of floods.

Major floods were earlier expected to take place in 2012 but it seemed they would come early 2013, said Pardjono, head of Jakarta`s Manggarai water gate, recently.

In the last two months, floods and landslides were also reported among other things in Aceh, Riau, Bengkulu and Banten.

But the worst is not over yet because Indonesia is currently in the middle of rainy season until March 2013.

The disaster mitigation agency`s spokesman has warned that some parts of Indonesia could be hit by landslides and floods before April 2013.

A total of 60.9 million people live in Indonesia`s 315 districts/cities that are prone to floods, and 124 million live in 270 districts/cities that are prone to landslides.

Apart from landslides and floods, cold lava floods may occur near Mount Merapi (Yogyakarta province), Mount Gamalama (North Maluku), Mount Bromo (East Java), Mount Lokon and Mount Soputan (North Sulawesi) early this year.

Last year, a total of 730 natural disasters hit Indonesia. Sutopo said last year`s natural disasters claimed a total of 487 lives and 675,798 people were forced to leave their homes and 7,891 houses were destroyed.

"Most of the natural disasters took place between January and April 2012," he added.(*)