Sabtu, 09 Oktober 2010


       Jakarta, Oct 9, 2010 (ANTARA) - The attention of all government officials, from the head of state to ordinary search and rescue officers, is now focused on Wasior, West Papua Province (about 3,500 km from Jakarta), where a flash flood last Sunday (Oct 3) has wreaked lethal havoc.
       According to the latest data, the flash flood killed 124 people, left 123 others missing, 185 seriously, and 535 persons lightly injured.
        Wasior is a town densely inhabited by around 7,000 people. Around 4,000 people were left homeless by the flood. Some 1,955 people were evacuated to Nabire, 890 in Manokwari and some others in Teluk Wondama areas.
        The emergency response will last until October 18, 2010, with priorities to search and evacuate victims, town cleaning up, house and school reconstruction.
       The flash flood had been triggered by incessant heavy rains that had fallen in the region from Sunday to Monday (Oct 3 and 4). Those who died in the disaster were likely because they had been sunk after being carried away by the flood that also carried with it logs and rocks from a lake in the mountain.
       President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono has ordered the National Disaster Mitigation Agency to prioritize evacuation of survivors during the emergency response period and assure that all services and needs of those treated in the hospital and other evacuation centers were met.

"Next week I will check if it (the disaster) has to do with environmental destruction if that indeed happens," President Yudhoyono said at a press conference in Jakarta on Friday (Oct 8).

President Yudhoyono plans to visit Wasior on Sunday (Oct 10,2010) until Monday (Oct 11).

He had ordered the navy to send its ships to carry logistical supplies including food and medical supplies there as well as building material supplies for rehabilitation and reconstruction purposes.

So far five naval ships have left from Surabaya, East Java, to carry logistical supplies to the region, he said.

He would visit Wasior in Teluk Wondama District, around 240 km southeast of Manokwari, to particularly check if illegal logging activities had been behind the flood that hit the region recently.

The President had earlier received reports from the head of the National Disaster Mitigation Agency (BNPB), Syamsul Maarif, who just returned from Wasior.

Syamsul said that the flood was purely caused by natural factors such as steep slope of up to 60 degrees in the region that was unable to accommodate torrential rains a week before the disaster.

He said he had already checked the river bank by helicopter although he could not reach the peak due to haze and saw no forest destruction around the site.

Syamsul said it was uprooted trees that hit houses and so it could be concluded that no illegal logging had happened.

President Yudhoyono however said he would still wish to check the situation by himself.

"After I see it, I will discuss with experts to confirm if the flood was the result of an extraordinarily high rainfall that produces water to flow in the rivers along with mud to cause flooding or it has to do with forest conditions in the region some said had been bad due to illegal logging," the President said.

The BNPB has sent 60 units of platoon tents, 80 units of family tents, 200 rolling tents, 60 units emergency beds, 500 packages of clothes, 100 pieces of mats, 2,250 ready for consumption foods and 2,250 kg medicines.

The government has extended Rp2.5 billion in cash for emergency response efforts in flood-devastated Wasior, West Papua province.

The money was brought to Wasior by Coordinating Minister for People`s Welfare Agung Laksono and Social Affairs Minister Salim Segaf Al Jufri, who visited the area on an instruction of the president on Saturday.

Agung said he and Salim Segaf had come to Wasior because the government was concerned about the devastation and human suffering caused by the flood.

On the occasion Agung denied that the government was too slow in responding to the disaster in Wasior.

"It is not true. The government has not been too slow in responding to the disaster. What people do not know is that in reality, the National Disaster Mitigation Agency (BNPB) was mobilized instantly to deal with the emergency in accordance with the law which says the BNPB acts as the government`s representative in disaster responses," Agung said.

Meanwhile, the National Search and Rescue Agency (Basarnas) has sent 60 personnel more to Wasior, West Papua, to help flash flood victims there.

The team leader, Air Commodore Teddy Sutedjo PS, before leaving for Wasior, said Friday his personnel and a number of military officers would provide humanitarian assistance to the victims and help evacuate them.

Sumpeno Yuwono, head of the Biak Search and Rescue (SAR) Agency said that around 120 body bags had been provided to evacuate those killed in the natural disaster.

The Indonesian Red Cross (PMI) had also sent consignments of aid worth Rp 2.3 billion to the flood victims. The aid was sent to the location by cargo planes and ships.

The Health Ministry had dispatched disinfectants and six mist blowers by the warship KRI Kalakai, expected to arrive at their destination on Saturday for spraying.

Health posts had been set up in five locations by local health agencies, namely in Kaibi, Maei (Aitumeri), airport, verandas and regent`s office at Lauan.

Operational assistance worth Rp 50 million had also been sent, including medical supplies, boots, hand gloves, protective glasses and other equipment.

Earlier, a lecturer at Jayapura`s Agricultural Institute (Stiper), Yunus Paelo, said some parts of the forests in Jayapura Municipality and the surrounding region had been damaged and this could have triggered the floods and landslides.

"You can see now , Wasior has been hit by floods. Jayapura is often hit by floods and landslides as well. This was caused by irresponsible forest and land reclamation," Paelo said.

However, the environment ministry (KLH) denied the information and said that the condition of the forest above Wasior, the capital of Teluk Wondama district in West Papua was still good.

The office`s assistant deputy for lake and river damage control, Antung Deddy Radiansyah, said at the office in Jakarta on Thursday (Oct 7) that a team of Green Indonesia Program had checked several days before the flash flood occurred.

"A team from KLH conducted a field check several days before the flood and saw 90 percent of forest coverage is still good," Andung said.

He said the flood occurred after the steep slope in the upstream area of Wasior River slided to cover the river. "The landslide covered the river like damming it up to cause a flash flood," he said.

Andung also predicted the slope had fallen because of the effect of a recent earthquake in Papua. ***3***

(T.F001/A/F001/A/H-YH) 09-10-2010 19:37:11 

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