Indonesia: Sibolangit disaster blamed on illegal logging

Jakarta Post 19 May 16;

Rampant illegal logging in the upstream areas of protected forests around Mount Sibayak, Karo regency, North Sumatra, is believed to be the cause of a flash flood that hit the Dua Warna Waterfall resort in Sibolangit, Deli Serdang regency, on Sunday.

Kusnadi Oldani, North Sumatra director of the Indonesian Forum for the Environment ( Walhi ), said around 25 percent of the protected forests around Mount Sibayak had been depleted due to illegal logging. Kusnadi added that the deforestation in upstream areas was believed to be the cause of the flash flood.

“The upstream area has been badly deforested, so it failed to hold the high level of rainfall and triggered the flash flood and landslide in downstream Sibolangit,” Kusnadi told The Jakarta Post on Wednesday.

Kusnadi said illegal logging in protected forests around Mount Sibayak had been taking place for a long time. However, he added, forestry officers had not been seen to stop the logging activities, despite the fact that they often took place close to the capital of Karo regency.

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