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Jakarta Post

Floods force thousands to flee

  • Syofiardi Bachyul Jb and Rizal Harahap

    The Jakarta Post

Padang/Pekanbaru   /   Wed, March 23, 2016   /  09:19 am

Flooding caused by heavy downpours and overflowing rivers has inundated several regions on Sumatra, leaving at least one person dead and forcing thousands to leave their homes.

In Padang, West Sumatra, Padang Disaster Mitigation Agency (BPBD) head Dedi Henidal said 30 percent of the city had been flooded, with Koto Tangah, the biggest district in the city, being the worst-hit area.

Rescue boats from the provincial BPBD, the National Search and Rescue Agency, the military and the police have been deployed since early Tuesday morning to carry affected residents to safety.

'€œWe have set up posts to accommodate the evacuees. We are also preparing logistic supplies and providing health services for them,'€ Dedi said.

He added that he had yet to gather the exact number of affected homes, most of which belong to a housing complex near an overflowing river and some of which have are submerged in water two meters deep.

'€œWe have deployed officers to evacuate residents who are trapped inside their houses,'€ he said.

The flood reportedly claimed the life of a 3-year-old boy who was carried away by the strong current of the Batang Kuranji River in Kubu Dalam Parak Karakah.

Firdaus of Koto Tangah district said the flood had inundated his house by half a meter and submerged the road in front of it.

'€œThis is the second time my house has been inundated since I moved here 12 years ago,'€ said Firdaus, adding that in 2009, water in his house had been ankle-deep.

The flood also forced families in the Taman Harmoni Dadok Tunggul Hitam residential area of Koto Tangah to move to nearby buildings.

Water also inundated some government offices, including the city'€™s development planning agency and a warehouse of the Indonesian Red Cross.

Padang Mayor Mahyeldi Ansharullah said the floods had forced him to close all schools affected by the flood.

'€œSome senior high schools cancelled their final exams because of the floods,'€ he said.

In Padang Pariaman regency, six houses in the districts of Jorong Talao Mundam, Nagari Ketaping and Batang Anai, located on the banks of the overflowing Batang Anai River, were swept away by the strong current of the river.

In Pasaman regency, a landslide has blocked the road connecting Lubuk Sikaping and Bukittinggi since 5:45 a.m., causing severe traffic congestion.

Padang Meteorology, Climatology and Geophysics Agency (BMKG) spokesman Budi Iman Samiaji said 370 mm of rain had fallen from Monday night until Tuesday morning.

'€œThat is the highest since I started working here 15 years ago. Usually, the maximum intensity is about 100 mm,'€ he said, adding
that while the intensity was decreasing, the rain risk in the city would remain high over the next few days.

Meanwhile, torrential rain in Pekanbaru, Riau, on Tuesday night caused floods that affected hundreds of houses.

Floods also inundated the city'€™s main thoroughfares because of clogged drains, bringing the city to a halt due to traffic jams.

In the province of Aceh, flooding engulfed seven districts in Aceh Barat regency, with two houses damaged by a landslide.

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