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Jakarta Post

Landslides cut off access to cities, nickel mine in northern Sulawesi

  • News Desk

    The Jakarta Post

Jakarta   /   Sun, June 16, 2019   /   06:25 pm
Landslides cut off access to cities, nickel mine in northern Sulawesi Search and rescue team members in Palu, Central Sulawesi, monitor areas affected by floods and landslides. (Antara/Basri Marzuki)

Massive landslides have cut off the main road connecting Palu, Gorontalo and Manado in the northern part of Sulawesi just as thousands of Idul Fitri travelers were making their way home.

A landslide has also disrupted transportation to a nickel mining site in Morowali, Central Sulawesi.

Constant rainfall that started prior to Idul Fitri affected at least four points of the trans-Sulawesi toll road, namely Tawaeli-Toboli, Parigi-Moutong, Luwuk-Baturube and Bungku, on the border of Central and Southeast Sulawesi, with the latter losing access to the Dampala bridge because of heavy floods.

The Dampala bridge is a vital link to the Indonesia Morowali Industrial Park (IMIP), one of the country’s largest nickel mining sites. In the meantime, an emergency bridge was erected at the location.

Landslides in Palasa, Central Sulawesi, were the result of rainfall this past week – a peculiar weather pattern in Indonesia where June is supposed to be the peak of the dry season.

Road access has been closed for the past three weeks.

“Until now, there has been no land transportation from Bahodopi district [where the mining site located] to Bungku and other cities in Southeast and South Sulawesi, as well as Kendari,” said Amran, a Bahodopi resident, as quoted by Antara news agency.

In the meantime, authorities are anticipating further access issues by placing equipment near the site of landslides.

Meanwhile, temporary evacuation posts have been established in northern Sulawesi as residents have lost their houses to the massive flood. More help is coming in the form of basic food supplies, public kitchens, medical aid and volunteers. (dmy)