1) Children fall ill in Jayapura shelters as rain continues
Jayapura and Jakarta / Tue, March 19, 2019 / 08:13 pm
Victor Mambor and Gemma Holliani Cahya The Jakarta Post
Residents stare at their damaged houses after a flash flood in Sentani, Jayapura regency, Papua, on Sunday, March 17, 2019. (Antara/Gusti Tanati)
Residents fled their homes as heavy rain and flooding continued on Tuesday in Jayapura, Papua, inundating more villages across the regency.
At least 89 people are reported to have died with 84 suffering serious injuries on the third day of the torrential rain that has hit the country’s easternmost province.
More than 6,800 people are taking refuge at 15 shelters in Jayapura and they urgently need basic provisions such as food, bedding, clean water, clean clothes and electricity.
“The flash flooding has affected over 11,000 people,” said Jayapura Deputy Regent Giri Wijiyantoro, adding that survivors were taking shelter in schools, churches and facilities belonging to the Indonesian Military (TNI).
The torrential rain has discouraged people from returning to their homes.
In Gunung Merah, Sentani district, where the regency administration’s emergency post is located, the evacuees are being accommodated in the regent’s office. Most of them being mothers and children. The scene is being repeated in other shelters.
Although aid has continued to arrive from private sources and the government, evacuees are still in urgent need of food, drink and clothing.
“We also need milk for children under five years of age at the shelters,” volunteer Gustaf Griapon of the Gunung Merah shelter said, adding that other shelters were in similar need.
Some children lost their parents in the flash floods. They needed special services such as counseling and help in searching for relatives and family members, Gustaf said.
Some mothers expressed concern about the condition of their children as they began to fall ill.
“My child has had a fever since Sunday morning but I cannot yet take him to the health post or hospital because the road is damaged,” said Ance Wanimbo who was sheltering in Imanuel Church in Kampung Toladan.
Debris blocked the road connecting the church and the main post in the downtown area. In this church women and children took shelter inside the church while men stayed in makeshift tents erected outside the church.
The provincial branch of the Indonesian Red Cross (PMI Papua) is still collecting data on the need for clean water and other emergency aid such as clothes, diapers, sanitary napkins, baby milk, blankets and mattresses at the main post and hospitals.
“We have distributed some. We are expecting people to help us to report on other evacuation centers we have not yet recorded,” PMI Papua head Derek Windesi said.
The provincial emergency post has also recorded at least 351 severely damaged houses, mostly on hillsides or river banks, and 211 inundated houses around Sentani city and Doyo Baru.
Marcel Kia, a resident of the BTN Gajah Mada housing complex in Doyo Baru, said that floods had hit his area several times in the last five years but no action had been taken.
The number of evacuees and damaged or inundated houses could still rise. On Monday Lake Sentani overflowed inundating houses from Jayapura regency to Jayapura city. Some houses in Ayapo village in the middle of the lake were inundated to their rooftops.
“Residents here fled their homes yesterday using speedboats,” said Leo Ohee of Yoka village, Jayapura city, who lives by the side of the lake.
“The number of victims keeps increasing because the affected area is very large,” said National Disaster Mitigation Agency (BNPB) spokesperson Sutopo Purwo Nugroho in a statement.
Sutopo said a joint team from 23 institutions comprising 1,613 personnel had been deployed to Sentani to provide emergency help for the victims of the flash flooding.
2) Floods cause severe damage to 351 homes in Sentani, Papua
Reporter: Alfian Rumagit, Fardah 8 hours ago
"A joint team, comprising military, police, and disaster response personnel, is still working hard at the locations affected by the floods,"
Jayapura, Papua (ANTARA) - Floods have caused serious damage to 351 homes, four bridges, four roads, and eight school buildings in Sentani Sub-district, Jayapura District, Papua Province.
Two churches and a mosque, eight drainage systems, 104 home-cum-shops, and a market were also seriously damaged by flooding that hit the sub-district on Saturday (March 16, 2019), Senior Commissioner A.M. Kamal, spokesman of the Papua Police, noted here, Tuesday.
Four cars and 30 motorbikes were also submerged by flooding, he added.
The extent of damage and death toll might increase, as rescuers continued to look for more casualties and collect data on material losses.
"A joint team, comprising military, police, and disaster response personnel, is still working hard at the locations affected by the floods," he remarked.
Meanwhile, the death toll from the flash flood that swept through several parts of Jayapura District in the easternmost Indonesian province of Papua rose to 61 as of Sunday evening.
The flash flood also injured 43 people, while 69 others were still missing, Kamal noted.
The injured were treated at several hospitals, including RSUD Yowari, RS Dian Harapan, and RS Bhayangkara.
The 69 missing residents included 34 from Milinik Village, 20 from the BTN Gajah Mada housing complex, seven from the Inauli housing complex, four from Bambar Village, and two from the BTN Bintang Timur housing complex.
Kamal remarked that some one thousand people have evacuated to higher ground following the flash flood.
"We have put up tents for the evacuees in several areas considered safe," he added.
3) No illegal logging activity in Sentani area hit by flooding: Enviro Ministry
Reporter: Martha H, Fardah 4 hours ago
"Branches and roots of the (floating) trees were intact. It shows that the trees were not a result of the illegal logging activity (suspected of having) caused the flash floods," he told the press.
Jakarta (ANTARA) - The Environmental Affairs and Forestry Ministry has confirmed there was no illegal logging activity in the Sentani areas hit by flash floods on Saturday (March16, 2019), according to IB Putera Parthama, the ministry's Director General for River Basin Management.
There were no logs floating or swept away by flood waters in the Sentani Sub-district, Jayapura District, Indonesia's eastern most province of Papua, Perthama said here, Tuesday.
"Branches and roots of the floating trees were intact. It shows that the trees were not a result of the illegal logging activity (suspected of having) caused the flash floods," he told the press.
Sentani located in the Cycloop mountainous area is prone to flash floods and landslides during heavy rain because the area has a steep slope and an unstable river basin.
The flooding on March 16, 2019, was triggered by heavy rains that went on incessantly for six hours.
The forest conversion in Sentani was also not significant, as it covered a total area of 495.47 hectares or 3.3 percent during the 2012-2017 period.
"From 2012 to 2017, the forest area converted into non-forest area reached only 3.3 percent. So, it's not strong enough to associate the disaster with the forest conversion," he said.
According to the 2018 data, the forest coverage in the river basin area in Sentani was around 55 percent, meaning it was good enough.
The flash floods in Sentani killed at least 82 people and rendered 74 others missing, while the landslide in Ampera in Jayapura District claimed seven lives, Senior Commissioner Ahmad Kamal, spokesman of the Papua Police, said in a statement quoted by Detik.com.
A total of 11,725 people were affected by the widespread flooding and landslide in Jayapura, particularly Sentani.