Papua (Greeners) – Heavy rains in Jayapura in Saturday (16/03/2019) afternoon resulted to flash floods hit at least nine urban communities (kelurahan) of Sentani subdistrict.
The areas hit by flash floods are Barnabas Marweri, Piter Pangkatana, Kristian Pangakatan, Didimus Pangkatana, Andi Pangkatana, Yonasmanuri, Yulianus Pangkatana, Nelson Pangkatan, and Nesmanuri.
Wisnu, secretary of Papua Disaster Mitigation Management, said that torrential rain on Saturday afternoon in Jayapura district flooded housing areas in Hinekombe, Dobonsolo and Sentani City, Kampung Yahim and Kehiran.
“From the impacts of flash floods and flash floods in Sentani, it is possible being triggered by landslide in the upstream which hit downstream [areas],” he said via text on Sunday (17/03/2019).
He said that the characteristic of flash floods in Indonesia is triggered by landslide at the upstream heading to the rivers and forming water body or natural dam.
As water volume keeps increasing, the water body or natural dam collapsed and hit the bottom carrying heavy materials, including woods, trees, rocks, mud and others, with high speed. In addition, high intensity rain with long duration. In 2007, flash floods also hit Sentani district.
Up to Sunday morning, at least 50 people died because of the flash floods, with 38 bodies were transferred to Papua Police Bhayangkara Hospital, seven at Marthin Indev hospital and five at Yowari Hospital.
At least 49 bodies have been identified, 59 injured have been treated at Sentani Health Care Center, Bhayangkara Hospital, and Yowari Hospital.
Jayapura Health Agency and Papua Health Agency coordinate the medical teams for victims.
“Currently, water have receded in several kelurahan leaving mud, logs and other material carried by flash flood. However, it is predicted to have more flash floods because Cycloop Mountain is still covered by clouds, hence, it will potentially rain,” he said.
Evacuation, search and rescue efforts are intensified to find victims. The joint Search and Rescue team is still evacuating and not all affected areas have been reached because of covered with trees, rocks, mud and other materials.
Current damages because of flash floods are nine houses destroyed in BTN Doyo Baru, one destroyed car, Doyo and Kali Ular bridges collapsed, at least 150 houses flooded at BTN Bintang Timur Sentani, one Twin Otter airplane damaged at Adventis Doyo Sentani airport.
The damages will increase because of ongoing data collection and not all areas have been reached by the search and rescue team.
Meanwhile, Sutopo Purwo Nugroho, head of Information Data Center and Public Relations of National Disaster Mitigation Agency (BNPB), stated on a press release that the agency head had reported to the president on the damages and evacuation of Jayapura flash flood.
“Head of BNPB and other institutions and agencies are leaving for Sentani to give support to Jayapura and Papua administrations,” he said.
Reports by Dewi Purningsih