State of Emergency Declared in Manado

State of Emergency Declared in Manado

WajahNusantaraku, January 17- 2014 The capital city of the North Sulawesi province of Indonesia. At least 13 people were killed after overnight flash floods and landslides hit Indonesia’s Sulawesi island, an official said on January 16. (AFP Photo)

The government has declared a state of emergency following the flash flood and landslide in North Sulawesi that left 16 people dead and thousands displaced.

“A state of emergency usually lasts for two weeks. We are preparing everything for that period including our buffer stock but if the period is extended, we will be ready,” Social Affairs Minister Salim Segaf Al-Jufri said on Thursday.

Salim said the victims were found in six districts in the province while two missing have not yet been found.

“Every single district has been affected, the road connecting Tomohon to Manado has been cut off and in Minahasa some bridges have collapsed,” Salim said.

“Even the social affairs office is flooded. Fortunately our storage is spared, our logistic buffer stock is safe.”

Government assistance

He said his ministry would allocate around Rp 5 billion ($415,000) to help the victims.

“In our reserve fund, we have between Rp 4 billion and Rp 5 billion,” Salim said.

He noted that the Social Affairs Ministry had a budget of Rp 400 billion for disaster management, 80 percent of which was reserved for aid — including tents, rubber boats and relief kitchens.

The North Sulawesi provincial government has turned the Regional Legislative Council building into a refuge for flood victims, and council speaker Meiva Salindeho Lintang said that at least 400 people had taken shelter there.

Yudhoyono, during his opening remarks at a cabinet meeting, urged all agencies to work to minimize the damage and loss of life.

“The government must be better prepared to anticipate disasters,” the president said.

He also called on the National Disaster Mitigation Agency (BNPB) and the Meteorology, Climatology and Geophysics Agency (BMKG)to keep the State Palace up to date with the weather forecast.

Leaving everything behind

Some Manado residents claimed this year’s flood was the worst in a long time. Many had to flee their homes without any of their belongings.

“The water pushed up very high. There was no way we could save our valuable possessions,” said Jemmy Merung an area resident whose house was flooded.

Jemmy said eight houses in his neighborhood were swept away by the flash floods.

Road access in the region has been shut down following the floods.

The BNPB reported at least 40,000 people have been evacuated.

Heavy showers fell since Tuesday evening, causing floods across its 11 subdistricts, according to the BNPB.

Rains also triggered floods and landslides in the neighboring district of Minahasa, where a person was found dead after a landslide buried 10 houses in Kembes village.

Another person was declared missing.

BNPB’s spokesman, Sutopo Purwo Nugroho, said water levels were as high as six meters in some areas along riverbanks and that the downtown area was under 1.5 meters, causing at least four bridges to collapse.

Sutopo described the flash floods as “massive,” adding that the rains had also triggered numerous landslides across the mountainous region.

He said some people were trapped in their homes and that evacuations remained underway, with the police, the military and volunteers working together.

Refugees have taken shelter at the Swissbell Hotel, the Tengunpura Hotel and the mayor’s office, among other places.

Sutopo said winds blew at high speeds in Manado during the downpours, reaching between 15 and 20 knots, while waves reached heights of five meters off the coast.

He said satellite images show that there are still heavy cloud cover above North Sulawesi, indicating that the potential for flooding remains high.

North Sulawesi Governor Sinyo Harry Sarundajang said at least 70 percent of Manado has been inundated.

BNPB chief Syamsul Maarif said the aid relief has been hampered by the difficult transportation access since some roads were inundated.

But he added that on Thursday the heavy downpour began decreasing, which enabled at least 60 percent of the evacuees to return home.

President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono has assigned Vice President Boediono to visit the flood victims in Manado.

“We are currently coordinating his visit and the kind of aid which will be distributed,” Transport Minister E.E.Mangindaan said.

“We are working closely with the regional government to help. Source:JakartaGlobe

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