Head of National Disaster Management Agency Doni Monardo coordinated SAR team to evacuate Sentani floods in Jayapura Regency, Papua Province today (03/18). Photo by The Agency.

JAKARTA (TheInsiderStories) –Indonesia’ National Disaster Management reported 2 people were killed by flood and landslides in Sentani regio in Papua province. The agency said, 77 people were killed by the disasters in the areas.

The spokesman Soetopo Purwo Nugroho told reporters on Monday (03/18), rescue teams are searching for 43 people still missing. And more than 4,000 people have been evacuated to six locations.

Furthermore, over than 11,000 families have been affected by the flash flooding and around 2.000 hectares of rain catchment area has been cleared for development, the spokesman said.

According to Nugroho, natural disasters that hit Indonesia in the last few months since mid-2018 were not only caused by natural factors such as geographical location as a “ring of fire”, changes in extreme weather, or high rainfall. But this massive disaster can also be caused by a culture of awareness of minimal disasters and human activities that damage nature and the environment, said senior officer today.

According to the Head of the Data Information and Public Relations Center of the National Disaster Management Agency Sutopo Purwo Nugroho, the floods that hit 9 Sentani villages, in Jayapura Regency, Papua Province on Saturday (03/16), occurred due to two main factors, namely natural factors and human actions. Disasters due to natural factors, according to him, are unavoidable and predictable, but human-caused disasters should concern all citizens.

“Disasters in Sentani occur because of several factors, including: the propagation of nature reserves by residents since 2003, logging of trees for land clearing, excavation of C around the disaster site,” told media at the Agency Office in Jakarta.

According to Nugroho, due to heavy rain which lasted seven hours, from 17.00-24.00 local time, the villages in the crater could no longer avoid the arrival of flash floods. The disaster killed 77 peoples and damaged a total of 688 units and houses, vehicles and public facilities, 43 peoples were missing, 74 peoples were injured, 4,226 were displaced, and 11,725 ​​were affected.

“From the nine disaster affected villages, Dobonsolo, Doyo Baru and Hinekombe were the most severe areas,” he said.

Currently, the joint Search and Research (SAR) team, namely the Regional Disaster Management Agency, Army and Police, the National SAR Agency, Indonesian Red Cross and volunteers are still evacuating and searching for victims. A temporary command post was established and part of the assistance was channeled to affected villagers.

“The central government has allocated funds of Rp1 billion and other logistical assistance will follow. Meanwhile, the victims who have been identified have been returned to their families to be buried,” he added.

Nugroho stated, President Joko Widodo himself has instructed the his party to immediately carry out evacuations to avoid death and injuries. Furthermore, Widodo ordered that immediately reinvest the forest around the upper reaches of the river which empties into Lake Sentani.

“The President has called on the agency to respond quickly to this disaster. Today Mr. Doni Monardo (Head of the Agency) has been in Sentani for direct coordination of the disaster evacuation process,” he cleared.

In almost the same time, another earthquake occurred in the East Lombok region, West Nusa Tenggara province. The quake with a magnitude of 5.4 on the Richter Scale seems to bring back the trauma of the community to the massive earthquake that occurred in late August.

“But this earthquake did not have the potential for a tsunami because it occurred on land due to normal fault activity around Mount Rinjani which triggered a downsizing (fault norm),” he explained.

Nugroho explained, due to the earthquake, 3 peoples died (2 of them Malaysians), 182 were injured, 2,108 peoples were affected and 525 houses were damaged. In addition, around 56 survey teams on the Mount Rinjani hiking trail were evacuated from Post 2 to Post 3 on Mount Rinjani in safe conditions.

“Two Malaysians died because they were bathing in Tiu Kelep Waterfall in Senaru Village, Kec. Bayan, North Lombok. One is named Tai Sieu Kim (56 years) and Lim Sai Wah, and a child named Tomi (14 years), a resident of Bayan, North Lombok,” he said.

Meanwhile, other disasters hit the residents in Yogyakarta and Central Java on the same day in the form of floods and landslides due to heavy rain. The affected areas in the province of Yogyakarta include: Bantul district, Gunung Kidul, Kulon Progo. While in Central Java it affected two districts, namely Purworejo and Wonogiri.

“Heavy rain was caused by the presence of Savannah cyclone in the Indian Ocean, Southwest of Lampung, which resulted in a slowdown of angina in the Java region. While the rising surface temperature of water has led to the formation of rain clouds in the Java region,” he said.

Nugroho reported, in the five districts, even though it did not cause great damage, but it killed 2 residents of Bantul and 3 peoples were still buried in avalanches. Meanwhile, in other regions, dozens of houses were damaged, hundreds of residents were displaced and some electricity networks were damaged.

In addition to floods and landslides, the same day there was a volcanic eruption, namely Mount Agung in Bali at 08.03 and Mount Merapi in Yogyakarta at 24.00 and the eruption of Mount Anak Krakatau last morning. However, the third eruption of the mountain didn’t affect the activities of the community around the mountain, tourism and flight.

“But the people are urged not to approach the mountain radius up to 1 kilometer (km) for Mount Merapi and 5 km for Mount Agung. While tourism activities in the Pandeglang area, Banten can still be done,” he concluded.

Written by Daniel Deha, Email: daniel@theinsiderstories.com