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Jakarta Post

Floods hit thousands of homes in Riau, Bengkulu and West Sumatra

Rizal Harahap
Pekanbaru   ●   Sat, November 15, 2014

Several regions in the provinces of Riau, Bengkulu and West Sumatra have been hit with floods, engulfing thousands of homes due to high rainfall during the past three days.

The worst-hit is Kampar regency, where the districts of Kampar Kiri, Kampar Kiri Hulu and Tapung Hulu have been swamped by more than a meter of water due to the overflowing rivers of Subayang and Tapung.

Based on preliminary data from the Kampar Disaster Mitigation Agency (BPBD), 1,437 families were affected by floods that hit the regency from Thursday.

An Islamic boarding school in Kuntu Darussalam village was also inundated, with students taking shelter in the nearest mosques. Government offices and public facilities were also flooded, including markets.

More than 520 hectares (ha) of plantations and farmland were affected by flooding. A bridge connecting Kampar Kiri and Kampar Kiri Hulu also collapsed.

'€œThe aid urgently required by residents is basic food and portable water. These supplies have begun to be distributed to areas that can be reached by car,'€ said BPBD Kampar head Irtarius on Friday.

Residents have been urged to remain alert as rain is still falling in the border areas of Riau and West Sumatra.

'€œThe Subayang River overflowed because it rained heavily last night. If it rains for days, the effects will worsen. Everyone must stay alert because the weather remains uncertain,'€ said Irtarius.

In Kuantan Sengingi regency, Riau, the Kuantan River burst its banks and inundated town centers in the districts of Gunung Toar and Hulu Kuantan, placing hundreds of ha of ready-to-harvest rice crops at risk of crop failure.

The overflowing Tapung River also caused floods in Tandun district, Rokan Hulu regency, bordering Kampar regency. As many as 852 homes were submerged.

To prevent fatalities, the local administration has evacuated residents and set up public kitchens.

'€œWe have distributed food and medicine to evacuees and also provided clean water,'€ said BPBD Rokan Hulu head Aceng Herdiana.

The Batang Lubuh River, also overflowing, has flooded nearly 200 homes in the Kabun, Rambah and Rambah Hilir districts.

'€œWe have sent aid to these districts. For hard-to-reach areas we use dinghies to transport aid,'€ said Aceng.

He reminded residents living along the banks of the Batang Lubuh River in the Kepenuhan and Kepenuhan Hulu districts, to be more cautious. '€œRainfall in upstream areas is quite high and lower areas are prone to floods,'€ he said.

'€œTo prevent looting, BPBD personnel, alongside members of the Rokan Hulu Police, continue to watch over homes that have been deserted because of flooding,'€ added Aceng.

In Mukomuko regency, Bengkulu, floods have hit nine villages since Nov. 13. Besides submerging hundreds of homes, the floods also damaged a suspension bridge in the regency.

Based on data from the Mukomuko Police on Friday, the bridge in Suka Pindah village, Lubuk Pinang district, was damaged due to a flash flood that hit the area on Thursday evening.

'€œThe bridge did not collapse but a large section of it was damaged by a flood,'€ said Mukomuko Police detective unit chief Adj. Sr. Comr. Dauglas Mahendrajaya.

He added that another bridge in Lubuk Pinang village had also been flooded and could not be used by vehicles.

Meanwhile, 841 houses in Silaut district, Pesisir Selatan regency, West Sumatra, were also flooded due to heavy rain.

The regency'€™s BPBD head, Medi Yuherman, said the floods had submerged houses in six customary villages in the district on Thursday.