Hundreds of houses flooded as lake overflows in Papua
Nethy Dharma Somba The Jakarta Post
Jayapura, Papua | Sun, October 30, 2016 | 03:42 pm
About 800 houses in five villages on the shores of Lake Paniai in Enarotali, Papua, have been inundated with overflowing lake water for two weeks, but their inhabitants have yet to receive any assistance from the administration, according to a Catholic priest.
Besides flooding the houses, the water also destroyed fields where the villagers grow food.
The knee-deep water flooded homes in the East Paniai villages of Bobaigo, Awabutu, Kogekotu, Dupai and Akai.
“Residents moved to higher, dry places, building makeshift shacks,” Catholic priest Rev. Santon Tekege said Sunday.
This natural catastrophe, he said, had last occurred three years ago. “At that time the lake water was higher and many resident fell ill because of the poor conditions of their shelter. If the situation right now is not addressed properly, I am afraid the situation could become worse than three years ago,” he said.
Father Santon said although the flood had lasted for two weeks, the villages had yet to receive any attention from the government or councilors. “At this moment, the regent and other officials, including the councilors, are not in Enarotali, they all went out of town and don’t know the residents have been hit by floods,” he said.
Santon said he hoped the officials would return quickly to Paniai to take care of the people. “The rainy season will continue for some time, and the water level of the lake will continue to rise; the people need assistance like shelter, food, clothing and transportation. If not, I am afraid the people will run out of food,” he said.
He said the children were still able to go to school using boats, but if the water kept rising, their schools could be inundated.
Santon expressed hope the local administration and the Papua provincial administration would come up with long-term solutions for the people living on the lakeshore to deal with the three-year cycle of floods. (evi)