At least 77 people were killed, 116 injured and 4 000+ displaced in the Indonesian province of Papua over the weekend as heavy rain produced severe flash floods and landslides, the country's disaster officials said Sunday, March 17, 2019.
The worst of the flooding took place in the town of Sentani, near the provincial capital Jayapura on Saturday evening.
The spokesman for Indonesia's disaster management agency, Sutopo Purwo Nugroho, said 51 people were killed in the town and 74 injured. About 4 150 people are taking shelter in six evacuation centers.
9 houses were washed away in the town and hundreds of others flooded in neck-high water and mud. In addition, a Twin Otter aircraft was damaged at the Sentani International Airport, several roads and at least two bridges.
"We are still assessing the damage," Sutopo said. "There will likely be more [damage and casualties] because not all affected areas had been reached."
Korban banjir bandang di Sentai terus bertambah. Hingga— Sutopo Purwo Nugroho (@Sutopo_PN) March 17, 2019
Minggu (17/3/2019) pukul 08.30 WIB, tercatat dampak banjir bandang sebanyak 42 orang meninggal dunia, dan 21 orang luka-luka. Diperkirakan korban masih akan bertambah karena evakuasi masih berlangsung. pic.twitter.com/EujZd0SMdL
Sebagian banjir sudah surut di Sentani, Jayapura, Papua. Dampak banjir bandang 14 orang meninggal dunia, 18 orang luka-luka. Evakuasi dan penanganan dampak banjir bandang masih terus dilakukan oleh tim SAR gabungan. pic.twitter.com/JjDDRbTD4f— Sutopo Purwo Nugroho (@Sutopo_PN) March 17, 2019
Banjir landa Sentani Kabupaten Jayapura, Papua. Banjir di Gunung Merah membawa debit banjir dan kayu-kayu. Hati-hati bahaya kesetrum listrik. Jangan memegang tiang listrik dalam basah atau perabotan rumah yang masih menyala dan terendam banjir. Semoga korban tidak bertambah. pic.twitter.com/1Pk2GOYoDb— Sutopo Purwo Nugroho (@Sutopo_PN) March 16, 2019
Banjir bandang terjang 9 kelurahan di Sentani Kabupaten Jayapura— Sutopo Purwo Nugroho (@Sutopo_PN) March 16, 2019
Evakuasi dan pendataan masih dilakukan. Data sementara 3 orang meninggal dunia. Kerusakan meliputi 9 unit rumah warga hanyut, 1 unit mobil hanyut, 3 jembatan rusakdan kerusakan lainnya. pic.twitter.com/PFRmCSFKF7
Banjir bandang menerjang Sentani Kabupaten Jayapura, Provinsi Papua pada 16/3/2019 pukul 21.30 WIT. Banjir disebabkan hujan deras sejak pukul 18.00 WIT. Beberapa warga hanyut terseret banjir bandang. Posko BNPB masih koordinasi dengan berbagai pihak untuk penanganan darurat. pic.twitter.com/5sV8DsmLme— Sutopo Purwo Nugroho (@Sutopo_PN) March 16, 2019
Papua police spokesman, Suryadi Diaz, said the overcutting of trees in the hills above the town to convert the forest to farming land contributed to the heavy flooding. "There was little vegetation to slow the flow of water," Diaz said. "Small rivers quickly became overloaded," he added.
Nugroho said that disaster management authorities had warned local governments of flash flood risks due to deforestation and sent seedlings intended for tree-planting.
"Forest destruction in the Cyclops mountains have increased for use as firewood and to turn the land into plantations," Nugroho said. "We have warned the Jayapura government to be careful of flash flood risks because of this deforestation," he added.
The death toll rose to 77 on March 18 with 116 others injured. 41 people were seriously injured and 75 others had minor injuries.
Featured image: Severe floods in Sentani, Papua, Indonesia on March 16, 2019. Credit: Jack Okoka (Phantom Photography)