Importance of natural disaster mitigation in Jayapura

WhatsApp-Image-2022-01-17-at-13.41.30 The situation at Organda Housing after being affected by floods and landslides in Jayapura City, Papua Province, on January 13, 2022. Photo y: ANTARA PHOTO/Devi Nindy/rst

Source: ANTARA
Date: January 18, 2022

ANTARA - Floods and landslides that struck Jayapura City, Papua Province, on January 6, 2022, for over a week left puddles and high mud mounds in the affected area.

These are still visible in residential areas in the Organda Housing area of Heram and Konya Sub-districts. Roads in the area are still filled with mud reaching heights of around five to 10 centimeters and puddles of water, thereby making it difficult for vehicles to ply the access road to the residents' houses.

Several residents affected by floods and landslides decided to stay in their homes over fears of looting. They were spotted trying to clean the yard.

Meanwhile, residents whose houses could not be occupied due to heavy damage caused by inundation and mud opted to evacuate to locations readied by the Jayapura city government.

One of the refugees was Yulce Semon, 30, who had stayed for a week at the Trikora Sports Center, a refugee camp in Jayapura City, Papua.

Semon said his family could not live in the house despite the floodwaters having dried up. He and his family have lived in Organda Housing since 2003, but the floods and landslides were not as severe as this incident.

"My house is already dry, but the smell of mud still lingers on in the yard. The house is no longer suitable for us to live. The mud is very thick, around five centimeters," he noted.

At the evacuation camp along with 200 other residents, Semon received assistance in the form of ready-to-eat food, sleeping equipment, and items of personal hygiene.

Landslides and floods that struck on January 6 affected 19,327 people.

Eight people reportedly died, while six people were injured. They had been treated at several hospitals in Jayapura City.

In addition to the Trikora Sports Center, the refugees have stayed at the Jayapura Center for Social Welfare Education and Training (BBPPKS).

The location accommodated residents, who had fled from the Youtefa Market area and a vocational school in the Entrop area.

The landslide that caused the death toll also occurred at the Bhayangkara Jayapura Dormitory. The disaster occurred, as a residential housing was located on the slopes of the hills.

Prone to flooding

Jayapura Mayor Benhur Tomi Mano noted that three locations affected by floods -- the Organda Housing, Youtefa Market, and Jayapura 4 Vocational School -- are prone to floods every year.

Mano noted that if the rain lasts for one to two hours, floods will immediately occur in the area. Mano informed that the three places are located in a water reservoir area.

"It is a water reservoir. Whoever the mayor is, the place is problematic. However, we are striving to manage the area to be free from floods. We prohibit illegal construction without building permits in Papua," he stated.

In addition, logistical assistance is focused on the Waringin Sports Center, Jayapura.

Mano has sought help from each village head to handle the distribution of aid to their residents.

The mayor ensured that the aid received will be given directly to residents in need and not solely collected at the Waringin Sports Center.

In order to accelerate the handling of floods, Manu urged refugees to return to their homes immediately. His side will help residents, whose houses were affected by floods.

The acceleration in flood-handling efforts was also strengthened by the visit of Minister of Social Affairs Tri Rismaharini to Jayapura City after recently providing flood assistance from Aceh Province.

The minister met with flood victims and distributed social assistance to Papuans. Rismaharini also distributed ready-to-eat food packages, cleaning kits, and footwear for children to return to school.

Rismaharini handed over aid for flood and landslide victims in Jayapura that comprised disaster logistics assistance, compensation for heirs of seven victims, 500 packages of basic necessities, 500 packages of cleaning tools, 500 packages of school equipment, 500 pieces of sarongs, 50 packs of baby supplies, and natural materials, amounting to Rp1,390,539,388 in total.

In addition, the minister provided a water purification or water treatment tool that is expected to address common problems in flood disasters, specifically the lack of clean water availability.

"With water treatment equipment, water can be processed into ready-to-drink water," she remarked at a press conference at the Waringin Sports Center, Jayapura, on January 13.

Be Aware
On the same occasion, Rismaharini expressed optimism that the local government would remain vigilant with regard to residential housing on hillsides that could trigger landslides.

The minister remarked that global warming could increase the intensity of rainfall every year and landslides in almost all parts of Indonesia

"The conditions in Sibolga, North Sumatra, are exactly the same as in Jayapura. I am optimistic that other governments and not only the Jayapura government will remain alert to residential housing on hillsides," she stated.

To avoid victims due to floods and landslides, residents affected by the disaster should be placed in a safer place. To this end, the ministry will provide tents for temporary refugee camps.

Similar to the incident in West Java, her administration chose a location in Sukabumi for disaster mitigation when residents needed to evacuate in the event of floods.

"This temporary camp will be useful to reduce the number of victims since the rainfall has been getting heavier," Rismaharini noted.

In addition to providing logistical assistance, the minister has readied psychosocial support for flood victims, especially for children at BBPPKS Jayapura.

Dozens of children at the location received snacks, toys, bags, and school supplies.

The minister also reviewed the readiness of the public kitchen at BBPPKS Jayapura. She monitored the process of food distribution to refugee locations.

Looking at the existing conditions, flooding in Jayapura is a major alarm for all elements. The government must focus on land management as well as disaster mitigation.

Disaster mitigation in Jayapura must be readied at the earliest to prevent the death toll from increasing at a time when Indonesia is still facing extreme weather and high rainfall in 2022.

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