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Jakarta Post

Flash flood decimates rows of villas in North Sumatra hamlet

  • Apriadi Gunawan

    The Jakarta Post

Medan   /   Wed, November 18, 2020   /   05:39 pm
Flash flood decimates rows of villas in North Sumatra hamlet In Indonesia, people are forever at the mercy of natural disasters. (Shutterstock/-)

Eight rental villas and several shophouses were swept away by a flash flood in the Landak River tourist area in North Sumatra’s Langkat regency early on Wednesday.

There was no loss of life in the disaster, but a number of farm animals were found dead, local bystanders and officials have said, while the Selang Pangeran bridge that had become a tourist attraction on the river was also swept away in the violent washout.

Tomi Hendrik, a resident from Bahorok district, said the flash flood had passed through his area between midnight and 2 a.m. on Wednesday due to rain that had continuously poured since the morning prior.

As a result, the floodwater inundated the river and reached a depth of 5 meters.

In addition to the flood, the heavy rain also resulted in landslides at the Bukit Lawang residential complex in Bahorok VII hamlet.

No one was lost to the disaster, but residents were visibly shocked after waking up to the floodwaters, Tomi said.

“We were lucky to have saved ourselves, but most of us are still in shock after seeing the river swell up to 5 meters and decimating our villas and shops,” he told The Jakarta Post on Wednesday.

“Nothing was left intact by the flash flood.”

With the onset of the wet season in October, many places in the country’s interior remain prone to flooding, including areas with weak disaster mitigation infrastructure in place.

The Meteorology, Climatology and Geophysics Agency (BMKG) has predicted that nearly 40 percent of the 342 seasonal zones across the country will experience rainfall beginning in November.

Most of Indonesia is expected to see the peak of the rainy season in January and February 2021, the BMKG said in September.

Read also: Rainy season to start at end of October: BMKG

The head of Langkat regency’s regional disaster mitigation agency (BPBD), Irwan Sahri, said things were slowly returning to normal and the water around the flood-stricken areas had receded.

Residents were seen helping each other clean up pieces of wooden debris and muddy building materials strewn across the area after the flash flood.

Irwan insisted that there were no fatalities to report but said buildings had been heavily damaged and farm animals had perished in the string of disasters.

Eight villas, 12 kiosks, the Selang Pangeran bridge and a building owned by the local Jungle School were decimated. As many as 13 goats and three young oxen were killed in the disasters.

“The losses incurred from the flash flood and landslides are estimated to reach billions of rupiah,” Irwan said.