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Jakarta Post

North Sumatra Police probe illegal logging as possible cause of deadly floods

  • Apriadi Gunawan

    The Jakarta Post

Medan   /   Fri, January 3, 2020   /   12:47 pm
North Sumatra Police probe illegal logging as possible cause of deadly floods A resident walks through floodwater in the Padangbulan district of Medan, North Sumatra, in this undated photo. The North Sumatra Police are investigating illegal logging as a possible cause of Sunday's flood. Three people have died and two others have gone missing in the incident. (JP/Apriadi Gunawan)

Police are looking into illegal logging as a possible factor contributing to heavy flooding that killed three people and left two missing in North Sumatra’s North Labuhan Batu regency.

The head of the special crimes unit at the North Sumatra Police, Sr. Comr. Rony Samtana, said a team of 10 officers had been dispatched for the investigation. However, he said he could not reveal more information about the mission.

“Right now, the team is working to investigate the alleged relationship between illegal logging and heavy flooding in North Labuhan Batu,” Rony said at the North Sumatra Police headquarters on Thursday. “Later, when we know more about the case, we will share the information.”

Floodwaters measuring 2 meters in depth swept away a family of five in Pematang village on Sunday morning, killing at least three of them and leaving the other two missing.

The latest casualty was a 7-year-old girl named Reni Sipahutar, who was found at the river near the hamlet of Bangun Sari on Thursday at around 5 p.m. The body was taken to Rantau Prapat Hospital in Labuhan Batu. 

The two people missing were identified as Ahmad Albar Sipahutar and Reza Rahardi. A joint team of the National Search and Rescue Agency (Basarnas), the regional disaster mitigation agency (BPBD), the police and the military is still searching for them.

The flood also damaged 36 houses and public facilities in the villages of Pematang and Hatapang. (gis)