Friday, April 5, 2013

1) Sentani village struggles with high tides

1) Sentani village struggles with high tides

2) 7.1-Magnitude Quake Rocks Papua: USGS


1) Sentani village struggles with high tides

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Yoboi village, located on the shore of Lake Sentani in Papua, is famous for its vegetable gardens.

The village, however, is facing environmental threats, with its vegetables grown by local residents swamped by rising water of up to 2 meters.

The village, one of 26 villages scattered around the lake, is inhabited by 450 people, and all their homes have been engulfed by water.

“The tide has been high since February. The vegetable gardens are swamped by water. Now, the remaining plants are grown in pots so they can be moved around,” said 50-year-old Yoboi villager Regina Ondi.

The nutritional gardens in Yoboi village are built of sago palm tree trunks and are usually square in shape. The floating gardens are supported by the trunks, planted in the bed of the lake.

The boxed gardens are then filled with soil, on top of which a variety of vegetables and cooking ingredients are grown, such as spinach, cabbage, lettuce, lemongrass, celery and ginger.

“Previously, if we wanted to cook, we only had to go beside the house to pick vegetables and then cook them. We also just picked fish from the karamba [floating fish pens], but now, they are just a memory due to the high tides,” said Regina.

The village is some 15 minutes away by boat from the Yahim pier in Sentani town. During a boat ride, one can see villagers, usually women, fishing in the middle of the lake.

The inundation has also disrupted people’s everyday activities. Every Sunday, a Mass was held in residents’ homes, but as all the homes have been engulfed by water, religious activities have been moved to a local church that is not yet affected.

“Religious activities are focused at the church now,” said Indonesian Christian Church (GKI) Maranatha churchgoer Yahya Deponday.

In addition, when the lake water overflows, the floating fish pens will be swept away, allowing the fish to escape.

“The karamba are empty now,” said 49-year-old villager Bilha Wally.

Bilha said housewives and teenage girls who tended to the gardens were worried the water levels would rise again.

Based on analysis by geologists from Diponegoro University in Semarang, Central Java, the water surface of Lake Sentani has increased by 2 meters since February due to a natural causes.

“A fracture in the Earth’s crust has been detected beneath Lake Sentani, in Waren, Demta district. The fracture, stretching at around 20-kilometers, has caused underground water to seep into the lake so the lake’s water level has risen,” interim Papua Governor Constant Karma told reporters in Jayapura recently.

The Papua provincial administration, central government and Jayapura regency administration have provided assistance funds of Rp 2 billion (US$205,000), Rp 1.9 billion and Rp 6 billion respectively.

According to Regent Mathius Awoitauw, overflows of the lake had also occurred in the 1950s and 1960s.

“However, according to residents, the high tides in the past only lasted for three days to a week and then subsided. Now the high tide is longer,” the regent said. “Geologists from Diponegoro University even estimated that the high tide could last for three months.”

There are 485 inundated homes around the lake, inhabited by 3,023 people. Residents have refused to evacuate because of the strong connection with their surroundings.


2) 7.1-Magnitude Quake Rocks Papua: USGS
AFP & Reuters | April 06, 2013
A major 7.1-magnitude earthquake struck Indonesia’s Papua on Saturday, the US Geological Survey said, but no tsunami warning was issued.

The quake struck on land at 1:42 p.m. local time at a depth of 75 kilometers, 237 kilometers east of Enarotali, the USGS said.

Local seismologists had measured the quake at 7.2 magnitude.

An Indonesian meteorological survey official said the quake struck on land and there was no danger of a tsunami off the thinly populated province, formerly called Irian Jaya, in Indonesia’s far east.

People in the area told AFP they felt the quake strongly and hundreds went running into the streets, witnesses told AFP.

Narsi Bay said she was in a meeting on the first floor of a hotel in Jayapura when she felt “strong shaking."

The sprawling Indonesian archipelago is on the Pacific’s “Ring of Fire” and gets regular earthquakes.

A magnitude 9.1 quake struck the northern Indonesian province of Aceh in 2004 triggering huge tsunami waves which killed more than 230,000 people in 13 countries around the Indian Ocean.

AFP & Reuters

[Updated 12:42 p.m.]

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