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Jakarta Post

Floods swamp houses, roads, schools, farmland in Sumatra

  • Apriadi Gunawan and Syofiardi Bachyul Jb

    The Jakarta Post

Medan/Padang   /   Tue, December 1, 2015   /  03:12 pm

Thousands of homes and public facilities, including roads and schools, as well as farmland, were engulfed by floods triggered by torrential rain that fell from morning until noon on Monday in North Sumatra, West Sumatra, Riau and Aceh.

The entire city of Medan was virtually engulfed by floods, but the worst-hit areas were Labuhan, Marelan, Deli, Percut Sei Tuan, Tembung and Polonia districts, where floodwater reached 60 cm.

In Labuhan, hundreds of residents were forced to take shelter after their homes were swamped by floods.

Two elementary schools in Labuhan reportedly had to be closed after being flooded by up to 60 cm of water. Labuhan resident Jufri Ardiansyah said the two schools were often hit by flooding, adding that local people had asked the authorities to raise the ground at the schools, but to no avail.

'€œWe keep reporting the problem but they never respond. So when the rains come, the schools are immediately flooded. We feel sorry for the children who cannot attend school,'€ Jufri said, blaming poor drainage for the flooding.

Kualanamu Meteorology, Climatology and Geophysical Agency (BMKG) staff member Nancy Tambunan said rain would continue to fall along the eastern coast of Sumatra and urban areas, especially in the evening and early hours of the morning. Nancy added that the intensity of the rain would be very high over the next couple of days.

'€œWe urge residents to be aware of the rain from the evening until dawn, because rainfall will be higher then than in the morning,'€ she told The Jakarta Post on Monday.

The recent rain over the east coast of the island and Medan, Nancy explained, was due to low wind pressure in the Indian Ocean, or waters off West Aceh.

Meanwhile, torrential rain that drenched Solok regency, West Sumatra, on Sunday left 85 houses in three villages submerged and destroyed hectares of farming land on Monday.

The West Sumatra Disaster Mitigation Agency (BPBD)'€™s emergency division head Pagar Negara said the agency had distributed food, biomass stoves and blankets to 395 people affected by the floods.

In Riau, hundreds of homes in Kuantan Singingi regency were engulfed by floods resulting from overflowing rivers following high rainfall in the province.

'€œMany local people have sought shelter since the rivers overflowed,'€ Logas Tanah Darat district chief Novrion said in Teluk Kuantan on Monday.

He added that homes located near rivers, such as in Rambahan village, Logas district, had been swamped by floodwater up to 1.5 meters.

'€œIf heavy rain continues, the flood levels will be very high,'€ Novrion said.

He added that as well as hill erosion, the river'€™s capacity had been affected by construction along the river banks by a plantation company that operates in the area.

In Aceh, overflowing rivers also flooded a number of areas in Pidie regency following heavy rain.

Pidie BPBD head Apriadi said in Sigli on Sunday evening that several areas had been hit, including Tangse, Keumala, Mutiara Timur, Mila and Pidie districts.

'€œThe districts are located within the Krueng Baro Raya River basin area. The overflowing river engulfed the surrounding areas,'€ said Apriadi.

Floods also hit areas around regency capital Sigli and a number of villages, including Blang Asan, Blok Sawah, Kramat Luar and Kramat Dalam.

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