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Emergency declared in Indonesia’s West Java as widespread floods and landslides displace 10 000

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Widespread flooding and landslides due to constant rains forced roughly 10 000 people to flee their home in West Java, Indonesia, according to the National Disaster Management Agency (BNPB) on Wednesday, February 26, 2020. The calamities resulted in thousands of homes submerged, ruined establishments, and ravaged rice fields, prompting a declaration of emergency for 14 days.

According to BNPB spokesman Agus Wibowo, more than 800 ha (1 977 acres) of rice fields were inundated. Moreover, four establishments were totally destroyed — three school buildings and one mosque.

Floods have affected around 47 670 individuals from 15 734 families in the districts of West Jambe Bay, Kutawaluya, Jayakerta, Cilebar, Rengasdengklok, Tegalwaru, Pangkalan, Ciampel, East Karawang, Pedes, West Karawang, Cikampek, Jambe Bay, and Cilamaya Wetan.

Wibowo added that evacuations were being carried out, and almost 10 000 people were displaced due to landslides.

Logistics posts have been set up and emergency relief aids provided to the affected population, which included food, blankets, as well as makeshift tents.

Wibowo announced that a 14-day emergency was declared on Wednesday to make way for relief efforts. With this, BNPB head Doni Monardo had visited the areas to ensure that the operations will be carried out properly.

Provincial Search and Rescue Office spokesman Joshua Banjarnahor noted that soldiers and policemen are involved in the mission, as well as a crew of the Search and Rescue Office and the Disaster Management Agency.

"They were evacuated to their relative houses which are not submerged by the waters," he said. BNPB pointed out that heavy rain and poor drainage led to widespread flooding.

Furthermore, West Java Disaster Mitigation Agency (BPBD) operations manager Budi Budiman said non-stop heavy rain triggered a number of rivers across the regencies to overflow.

In Subang, floodwaters reached up to 1 m (3.3 feet), submerging six districts and 3 435 residential properties. "There are a total of 2 819 evacuees [in Subang]," Budi wrote on a statement.

BPBD acting head encouraged the local administration to consider implementing an early warning system to alleviate the impacts of flooding across the region.

"If it keeps raining, we must raise the warning level. We need to keep observing the situation as it develops."

The agency also registered up to 2 m (6.6 feet) of floodwaters in 12 districts across Bekasi regency, with up to 3 239 families affected, according to Budi. Moreover, eight districts in Karawang were underwater including at least 5 527 houses, after the nearby Cidawolong river became swollen.

"We will continue to monitor and coordinate with all relevant parties. We have also sent a team to all flood-affected locations so that flood mitigation efforts will be fast and appropriate this time," said BPBD's chief executive.

Meanwhile, flooding also continued in the country's capital Jakarta, which led to disruptions in travel and power supply. This is the second major flooding in the capital this year, following the one in January which displaced up to 175 000 people.

Featured image credit: @sakinaqil/Twitter

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