The Jakarta Post
Floods and landslides that hit 12 regencies and one city across South Sulawesi last week have killed at least 68 people and displaced about 6,700 others, the National Disaster Mitigation Agency (BNPB) said on Sunday.
Heavy rains that have been hitting some parts of South Sulawesi since last Monday caused floods in at least 71 subdistricts in 12 regencies and one city in the province, triggering landslides and cutting off road access in several areas.
Of the total 68 deaths, 45 bodies were found in Gowa, 14 in Janeponto, four in Maros and one in the provincial capital city of Makassar, BNPB spokesman Sutopo Purwo Nugroho said on Sunday.
“Gowa, Janeponto, Makassar, Maros and Majo were the most affected by the floods,” Sutopo said.
In Gowa, at least 604 houses were inundated and 46 people were injured and 2,121 others displaced.
In Jeneponto, floodwaters damaged 438 houses, swept away 32 others and displaced 3,276 people.
Heavy rains also caused rivers to overflow in 14 areas in Makassar, inundating 477 houses and displacing about 1,000 people.
While in Maros, authorities recorded 251 evacuees and 552 inundated houses.
Across the province, a total of 550 houses were either damaged or carried away by the floods and mud, and about 5,100 others were submerged under water. The disaster damaged 65 schools, 13,000 hectares of rice fields and 34 bridges.
As floodwaters have almost completely receded on Sunday, a number of evacuees have returned home while authorities continued emergency and relief efforts focusing on cleaning debris and mud, as well as providing food, health services and shelter to victims.
“The current priority is to clean the mud and debris that are blocking houses and road access,” Sutopo said. “[In certain areas], thick mud has filled up in houses, reaching as high as 50 centimeters. The mud is difficult to clean it as it has started to harden.”
Authorities have deployed heavy equipment to clean up the debris.
As of Sunday, search and rescue teams were still searching for seven missing people in Gowa and Janeponto.
The Meteorology, Climatology and Geophysics Agency (BMKG) previously warned of heavy rains and strong winds this week in a number of regions, including in South Sulawesi, and said the rainy season would peak at the end of January or beginning of February nationwide. (kmt/ipa)