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15 dead, 24 379 houses inundated as worst floods in 50 years hit South Kalimantan, Indonesia

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A series of floods struck the Indonesian province of South Kalimantan Province over the past 10 days, leaving at least 15 people dead, 24 379 houses inundated, and 39 549 displaced as of Monday, January 18, 2021. President Joko Widodo described the massive flooding in the area as the worst in the past 50 years, with almost 10 districts and cities affected.

National Disaster Mitigation Agency spokesperson Raditya Jati said the floods were brought by intense, persistent rains, with waters reaching as high as 3 m (10 feet).

"Today, I am reviewing the situation of flooding in nearly 10 districts and cities in South Kalimantan Province. This is a type of major flooding that had not occurred in South Kalimantan Province for over 50 years," Widodo stated as he visited the Pekauman Village along with other officials.

The 10 flood-stricken districts and cities are Tapin, Banjar, Banjar Baru, Tanah Laut City, Banjarmasin City, Hulu Sungai Tengah, Balangan, Tabalong, Hulu Sungai Selatan, and Batola.

"The rainfall has been very high for almost 10 consecutive days, so the Barito River, which normally holds 230 million cubic m (8 billion cubic feet) is currently receiving 2.1 billion cubic m (74 billion cubic feet) of water, thereby resulting in it overflowing its banks and inundating the 10 districts and cities."

At least 15 people lost their lives in the floods since January 12, while many others are still missing. About 24 379 houses have been inundated and 39 549 people were displaced.

"Lastly, I would like to express deep sorrow over the deaths of those in the floods in South Kalimantan. I hope the families left behind would be patient and accepting," the president added.

The South Kalimantan provincial government has declared a flood emergency status since January 14. Relief aid is being distributed to the affected families, which included clothing, food, blankets, tents, and mattresses. 

According to the Meteorology, Climatology, and Geophysics Agency’s forecast, light to moderate rains are expected for South Kalimantan as the rainy season continues until February.

Featured image credit: BPBD

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