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600 flood victims evacuated in South Sumatra, 2 killed in Bali

Publication Date : 21-02-2013


Floodwaters up to two metres deep have forced around 600 villagers of the Air Baluy hamlet in Sangadesa district, Musi Banyuasin regency, South Sumatra, to flee from their homes as rivers overflowed in the last two weeks.

The floods have also reportedly affected five other regencies - Banyuasin, Muara Enim, Musi Rawas, Ogan Ilir, and Ogan Komering Ulu Timur - and inundated a total of 20,973 houses in the six regencies.

The villagers have temporarily taken up shelter in houses and school buildings in nearby villages that escaped the flooding.

“Musi Banyuasin is the worst hit area. We have declared an emergency flooding situation in the area,” said South Sumatra Social Agency head Apriyadi in Palembang on Wednesday.

Apriyadi said that the administration had yet to calculate the total financial loss caused by the disaster.

The social agency, he continued, had distributed 55 tons of rice, 800 boxes of instant noodles, canned fish and clothes.

“We have also established a number of posts at the border of Musi Banyuasin and Musi Rawas,” Apriyadi added.

Apriyadi said that this flooding was the worst since the 2007 disaster. The flooding, he said, was caused by non-stop heavy rains and widespread deforestation in the area.

As of Wednesday, road access to Musi Rawas was still cut off by flooding, said South Sumatra Disaster Mitigation Agency (BPBD) Yulizar Dinoto.

Despite the magnitude of flooding, no casualties were reported according to South Sumatra Health Agency head Mat Dani. He said that he had also sent medical teams to take care of flood victims.

In Legok subdistrict, Telenaipura district, Jambi, the 240 families affected by a flash flood in December requested additional shelter as the four tents that had been provided were simply insufficient.

Jambi Legislative Council speaker Effendi Hatta, who visited the flood victims on Tuesday, said that he would ask the administration to provide more tents.

Meanwhile, the remains of two residents of Gitgit village in Bali’s Buleleng regency were found under the debris of a landslide that closed the main road connecting Singaraja and Denpasar on Tuesday night.

Members of the search and rescue team discovered the bodies of Gede Mertada, 35, and Gede Mulyawan Atmaja, 27, underneath mud and other materials on Wednesday morning.

It was reported that the two men, together with other residents of the village, had been working to clear the road of debris from an earlier landslide when another landslide occurred.

I Putu Dana, the head of the Buleleng BPBD, said that the landslides affected a 5-metre stretch of road and had carried heaps of mud, rocks, fallen trees and trash into almost all parts of Gitgit village, which is located on the main Singaraja-Denpasar road.

Gitgit and the neighboring villages near Bedugul resort, an area bordering Tabanan and Buleleng regencies, are very vulnerable to natural disasters because of their geographical and geological positioning.

The villages are in the hilly areas of Mount Batukaru, surrounded by three major lakes - Beratan, Tamblingan and Buyan - as well as a vast forested area.

“Almost every year, landslides, flooding, strong winds and other natural disasters occur here, claiming lives, affecting farms and livestock,” explained Dana.

Buleleng is one of the most disaster-prone regencies in Bali, along with Bangli and Karangasem.

Illegal logging, land conversion for farming and the natural topography have contributed to frequent landslides in these areas.

(With input from Luh De Suriyani and Alit Kartaraharja in Buleleng)


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