Indonesia: Floods, landslides leave 23 dead

Ina Parlina, Agus Maryono and Rizal Harahap The Jakarta Post 22 Sep 16;

Heavy rains, arguably caused by the La Niña weather phenomenon that increases precipitation, have wreaked havoc in two regencies in West Java, leaving at least 23 people dead from rapid flooding and landslides in the past two days.

A flash flood struck Bayongbong, Karangpawitan, Garut regency, in the early hours of Wednesday after heavy rainfall hit the area starting on Tuesday evening and caused the Cimanuk and Cikamuri rivers to overflow.

At least 20 people were found dead and 14 others, including four children, were still missing as of Wednesday afternoon. Hundreds of people have had to leave their homes, according to the National Disaster Mitigation Agency (BNPB).

Meanwhile, in Sumedang regency, landslides buried three houses in Ciherang village and two houses in Cimareme village, killing three people.

President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo ordered on Wednesday Social Affairs Minister Khofifah Indar Parawansa, as well as other relevant officials, to undertake immediate efforts to help the affected residents in Garut and Sumedang, as he extended condolences to the families of the victims.

“The President also wants people to raise their alertness in dealing with weather conditions, whether it is floods or landslides,” said presidential spokesperson Johan Budi on Wednesday.

Amid ongoing search and rescue efforts, BNPB spokesman Sutopo Purwo Nugroho warned people across the country of the increasing rainfall caused by La Niña.

A BNPB quick response team and the West Java Natural Disaster Mitigation Agency (BPBD), as well as the military, have deployed personnel to help search for the missing victims and to assist the Garut BPBD and the Sumendang BPBD.

“Rainfall will continue to increase until it reaches its peak in January 2017,” Sutopo said. “That [La Niña] will bring more rainfall, heavier than normal, and therefore it can also trigger floods and landslides.”

Environment and Forestry Minister Siti Nurbaya Bakar has also instructed the ministry’s secretary-general to study what environmental factors, like soil conditions and its geomorphology process, actually caused the landslides in Garut.

“There are many aspects that have to be resolved,” said Siti. “The problem is that [...] letting many houses be built in a disaster-prone area will also cause [such problems when disasters occur].”

Intense rain over the past three days has also caused flooding in a number of areas in Central Java, especially in Banyumas and Cilacap regencies where dozens of houses and hundreds of hectares of rice fields were inundated — causing possible crop failure.

Hundreds of people have been relocated to safer places because of the floods caused by a number of overflowing rivers, which was the result of continuous heavy rains in the southern part of Central Java.

The floods in the western part of Cilacap regency, which initially hit only Sidareja district, have now reached two other districts, Kedungreja and Gandrungmangu, engulfing about 600 houses with up to 1 meter of floodwater, said Cilacap BPBD.

In another part of the regency, two people in Kroya district were killed in floods that occurred over the past three days.

“If rain continues for the next couple of days, floods would definitely hit us as we are subject to flooding every rainy season,” said 43-year-old Saridin, a local resident of Sumpiuh district in Banyumas.

Relief aid, equipment rushed to victims of Garut flooding
Fardah Antara 22 Sep 16;

Jakarta (ANTARA News) - Indonesia is in mourning following the tragedy in Garut District, West Java Province, where flash floods have led to at least 23 deaths and left 18 others missing, four seriously injured, and 27 slightly wounded.

The natural disaster that displaced more than one thousand people, was triggered by incessant heavy rains, which caused the Cimanuk and Cikamuri rivers to overflow on Sept. 20 evening.

Dr Slamet Public Hospital, Tarogong Kidul police office, main roads, school buildings, and residential areas were submerged by floodwaters, which reached a height of up to two meters in one area, according to an eye witness.

The flood-affected sub-districts included Bayongbong, Garut City, Banyuresmi, Tarogong Kaler, Tarogong Kidul, Karang Pawitan, and Samarang.

Search efforts are still underway for the missing people, involving a joint Search and Rescue Team, which includes officers of the local Search and Rescue office (Basarnas), the Regional Disaster Mitigation office (BPBD), the military and the police, as well as Red Cross agents and volunteers, according to spokesman of the National Disaster Mitigation Agency Sutopo Purwo Nugroho.

The search efforts have focused on three flood-affected locations - Paris, Cimacan, and Wado - and areas along the Cimanuk River basin, stated Joshua, a spokesman for the Bandung Basarnas.

Several victims were believed to have been swept away by the river current.

"Many people have been reported missing, so the search continues," he said.

Meanwhile, hundreds of refugees have been accommodated at the district military office with the West Java BPBD helping cope with the emergency.

Relief aid has come in the form of funding, food, and medicine. Currently, the floodwaters have begun to recede, but the incident has left scenes of disaster in its wake.

Flood victims were accommodated in temporary shelters, among other things, at the Tarumanegara Regional Military Command Headquarters in Garut.

BPBD has set up command posts and managed food packages for the refugees. The Garut district head has named the district military chief as the leader in charge of mitigating the impact of the disaster and controlling the emergency situation.

Furthermore, President Joko Widodo (Jokowi) has ordered several relevant ministers to visit the disaster-hit district to coordinate rescue efforts and send relief aid.

On Sept. 22, Social Affairs Minister Khofifah Indar Parawansa visited victims of the flood and held prayers for the deceased.

Each family of the deceased victims received Rp15 million as compensation from the minister.

Minister Parawansa also visited flood-hit residential areas in the district and Dr Slamet Public Hospital, which was also inundated.

She hoped the hospital could resume normal operations quickly to help flood victims needing medical treatment.

The minister also visited Cimacan Kampong in Tarogong Kidul Sub-district to distribute relief aid.

To help speed up the rescue efforts, the Public Works and Public Housing Ministry has deployed various necessary equipment and facilities to Garut.

The ministry has sent seven clean water tank trucks, 17 public hydrants, 20 knockdown toilets, one sludge truck, and 200 jerrycans of drinking water, according to spokesman of the ministry Endra Atmawidjaja in Jakarta, Sept. 22.

The facilities were provided for flood evacuees taking refuge in Gandasari Indah apartments, the local military office, Dr Slamet Hospital, and the manpower office.

The public works ministry has also dispatched 2,000 gabion wire baskets to confine local rivers that had spillover on their banks.

Public Works and Public Housing Minister Basuki Hadimuljono also visited Garut to coordinate with Garut District Head Rudy Gunawan on the equipment and facilities needed to aid rescue efforts.

In the meantime, some 60 km from Garut, landslides triggered by heavy downpours hit several villages in South Sumedang Sub-district, Sumedang District, also West Java Province, on the same night (Sept. 20), killing four people and displacing over 700 villagers.

A road connecting Bandung and Cirebon in the Cadas Pangeran area was covered with mud from the landslide. The local police and disaster mitigation office had deployed heavy equipment to clear the mud.

In December last year, BNPB had warned that La Nina might intensify hydrometeorological natural disasters, such as floods, landslides, and whirlwinds, in parts of the country this year.

According to the agency, at least 315 districts and municipalities across the country are prone to flooding, that might affect more than 63.7 million people. Some 274 districts and municipalities are at risk of landslides.

Due to high precipitation, the provinces of Central, West, and East Java are prone to flooding, landslides, and strong winds, he pointed out.

Nearly 99 percent of the natural disasters hitting Indonesia in 2014, such as floods, landslides, and whirlwinds, were hydrometeorological in nature.

The agencys data revealed that 496 instances of whirlwinds, 458 occurrences of floods, and 413 incidents of landslides had affected Indonesia in 2014.

Landslides led to 338 deaths, displaced 79,341 residents, and damaged 5,814 houses in Indonesia in 2014.

Garut flood victims` needs will be met: Minister
Antara 22 Sep 16;

Garut, W Java (ANTARA News) - Minister for Social Affairs Khofifah Indar Parawansa visited the public kitchen and shelter locations set up for flash flood victims in Garut, West Java, saying their logistical needs will be met.

"I have checked two public kitchens to ensure that the flash flood and landslide victims logistic needs are met," said the minister at the Garut Social Services office, Thursday.

In the public kitchen that prepared over two thousand portions of meals for both refugees and volunteers, the minister joined the participants from the Disaster Alert Youth Group (Taruna Siaga Bencana) to help them prepare meals for the refugees.

The minister also visited the public kitchen and refugee shelter in the Garut Resort Military Command (Makorem).

From both kitchens, Minister Khofifah thinks there are enough supplies to cater to refugees and volunteers.

"The most important thing is to ensure that the supplies are being evenly distributed as there are some victims, who are currently staying in a relatives house, and their logistic needs should still be fulfilled," she remarked.

The Operational Procedure Standards for disaster handling states that once a sub-district head issues an emergency decree, the authorities can release up to a hundred tons of the governments rice reserve.

Once the hundred ton-supply runs out, the regional Governor can then issue a decree that will allow access of up to 200 tons of the rice reserve.

If the emergency situation requires over 200 hundred tons of rice supply, the Social Minister will be the one to issue the decree.

"I have checked with the Bureau of Logistics and they have reserved 50 tons of rice in their warehouse for the Garut shelters," Khofifah added.

Flash floods and landslides hit a number of areas in the Garut sub-district on Tuesday due to the overflowing Cimanuk river, which was a result of heavy rainfall.

It is reported that 23 people were pronounced dead and hundreds of housing units were ruined due to the natural disaster.(*)

18 missing after floods in W. Java: BNPB
Antara 22 Sep 16;

Bandung (ANTARA News) - Eighteen people have gone missing due to recent flash floods in the district of Garut, West Java, the National Disaster Mitigation Agency (BNPB) said here on Thursday.

"The team is still searching for the missing people," BNPB Chief Willem Rampangilei said when visiting the flood-affected location in Cimacan, Tarogong Kidul.

He said he had deployed national resources to find the missing people. The search team includes elements from the Regional Disaster Mitigation Agency, the police, the military, volunteers and community members.

They carried out the search in three areas hit by the floods and along the Cimanuk river. The Bandung chapter of the National Search and Rescue Agency has determined search locations covering Paris field, Cimacan, Cimanuk and Wado.

He said 23 people had died because of the flood.