Indonesia: Millions flee homes as floods, landslides hit regions

Panca Nugraha and Ruslan Sangaji The Jakarta Post 27 Sep 16;

Floods have been hitting a number of regions across the country, displacing people, destroying agricultural fields and inundating hundreds of houses in the affected areas.

The National Mitigation Agency (BNPB) recorded 1,495 disaster incidents that have occurred across the archipelago from January to August, with floods (535 times), tornadoes ( 405 ) and landslides ( 323 ) as the most frequent ones.

The events, which claimed a total of 257 lives and injured 303, forced 2.1 million people to migrate from their areas as thousands of houses were destroyed.

Of the disasters, landslides were the deadliest having killing 126 people of the total lives claimed, more than floods, which killed 70 people, and simultaneous floods and landslides, which killed 41 people.

“We predict the number of flash floods and landslides to keep increasing until March next year,” BNPB spokesman Sutopo Purwo Nugroho told The Jakarta Post.

According to the agency’s data, 315 cities and regencies in Java, Kalimantan, Sumatra and Papua are vulnerable to flash floods, which threaten 63.7 million people.

In the West and Central Lombok regencies of West Nusa Tenggara (NTB), full-day heavy rains on Sunday caused floods in the two regions, inundating at least 300 houses, destroying over 120 hectares of agricultural fields and forcing some 500 people to evacuate.

The provincial Disaster Mitigation Agency (BPBD NTB) head, Muhammad Rum, said the floods hit Lembar subdistrict in West Lombok and Montong Ajan subdistrict in Central Lombok on Monday afternoon. “We have distributed aid to these two locations,” Rum said on Monday.

He said the flood in Lembar inundated around 200 houses due to an overflowing river and high tide occurring at the same time, while in Montong Ajan, a flash flood affected around 100 houses and forced over 90 people, including 30 children and 11 babies, to flee their homes.

“The two locations are recovering but the people are still taking shelter at safer places,” said Rum, adding that makeshift tents and public kitchens had been set up in the affected areas.

In Tolitoli, Central Sulawesi, rains of high intensity have caused floods to hit the regency twice last week.

The most recent flood occurred on Sunday, inundating Tuweley subdistrict, Baru subdistrict and other regions in the downtown area for between 60 centimeters to 1.5 meters, according to Tolitoli Regent M Saleh Bantilan.

The heavy rain was accompanied by lightning on Saturday that flattened a tree to the ground at an elementary school on Jl. Magamu, Baru subdistrict, paralyzing the traffic flow.

A local, Bahtiar, blamed the flood partly on the clogged drainage facilities, causing the water to overflow to the street and to people’s houses.

He urged local administration to find solutions and make flood mitigation a priority for its development program. “The rivers have to be dredged. The ditches have to be cleaned out,” he said.

Meteorology, Climatology and Geophysics Agency (BMKG) spokesman Harry Tirto warned citizens living in South Sumatra, Lampung, Greater Jakarta, West Java, Central Java, East Java, South Kalimantan, East Kalimantan, Bali, Maluku, North Maluku and West Papua of potential rainfall of high intensity over the next three days.

He said the heavy rain would also be accompanied by lightning and strong winds, which could cause floods, landslides and bring down trees.

He warned operators of maritime transportation, including fishermen and beachgoers, to be vigilant as sea waves were predicted to reach up to 4 meters, including in the southern waters of Java, Bali and Lombok in West Nusa Tenggara.

“With the recent rains of high intensity, we urge the public to stay on alert for potential disasters. Fishermen also need to be extra cautious due to potential tidal waves,” he said on Monday. (fac)


Greater Jakarta: Less flooding so far this year: Agency
The Jakarta Post 28 Sep 16;

Despite recent rain that caused flooding in various places in the capital over the past few weeks, the Jakarta Disaster Mitigation Agency (BPBD) has recorded less flooding in the city this year than in 2015.

The agency revealed there were 700 cases of flooding between January and August this year, fewer than the 889 cases during the same period last year. Most incidents occurred in February, with 613 cases in 2015 and 231 this year.

However, BPBD operation unit head Denny Wahyu said on Tuesday there had been floods in every month this year while floods only occurred between January and May last year.

“Last year, El NiƱo made the weather drier, whereas this year we’ve had wet-dry weather,” he said as quoted by kompas.com.

The city has identified at least 57 subdistricts in the capital, mostly near the Krukut and Ciliwung rivers, prone to flooding.

They include Bangka, Kalibata, Ulu Jami and Bukit Duri in South Jakarta; Rawa Buaya, Cengkareng Barat, Grogol, Jelambar and Tanjung Duren Utara in West Jakarta; and Kelapa Gading Timur, Pademangan Barat and Pluit in North Jakarta.


President Jokowi Visits Flood-Ravaged Garut, Promises Low-Cost Apartments for Victims
Edo Karensa Jakarta Globe 29 Sep 16;

Jakarta. President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo visited areas worst-hit by the recent deadly flash floods in Garut, West Java, on Thursday (29/09). The president monitored relief efforts in the areas and made a promise to build low-cost apartments for the flood victims.

According to a presidential statement, the president departed for Garut on an Air Force Super Puma helicopter on Thursday morning.

During his visit, the president said he is seriously considering a request from the Garut administration and residents affected by the flash floods to build low-cost apartments to house the flood victims permanently.

"If the residents agree, we could build two low-cost apartments, as soon as possible. Flood victims from Garut and Sumedang will have first priority to get a flat there," Jokowi said.

National Disaster Mitigation Agency (BNPB) head Willem Rampangilei told the president that at least 1,794 homes and 41 schools were damaged when flash floods hit seven subdistricts in Garut earlier this month.

More than 3,180 personnel from the BNPB, National Search and Rescue Agency (Basarnas), National Police, Indonesian Military (TNI), Indonesian Red Cross (PMI) and a large group of volunteers are still taking care of thousands of flood victims in shelters around Garut and Sumedang.

As of Thursday morning, 19 people are still missing. Search and rescue teams are relying on drones to try to find them.

Tagging along in the president's entourage were Forestry and Environment Minister Siti Nurbaya, Infrastructure and Public Housing Minister Basuki Hadimoeljono, Health Minister Nila Moeloek and Presidential Chief of Staff Teten Masduki.

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