Wednesday, February 23, 2005

Flood victims face food, clean water shortages

Source: The Jakarta Post

Yuli Tri Suwarni, The Jakarta Post, Bandung

Over 30,000 flood victims in Dayeuhkolot and Baleendah districts in South Bandung regency were on Tuesday trying to cope with food and clean water shortages after fleeing their homes in the wake of freak floods over the weekend.

With less rain on Monday, the floodwaters, said to be the worst in over a decade, subsided by about 30 centimeters in most areas but remained between 150 cm and 250 cm high on Tuesday, with an estimated 65,000 houses in four subdistricts affected.

Head of the information section at the Dayeuhkolot district office, Inen, said the number of flood victims staying in temporary shelters had reached 22,948 people on Tuesday.

Most of the flood victims are holed up in mosques, public buildings and the two main posts set up for flood victims on the grounds of the Dayeuhkolot district office compound in Citeureup village.

Inen complained about the lack of donations to help the flood victims, even though villagers lost almost everything except the clothes on their backs.

"Still at this point, we're having problems providing food and clean water for them... they badly need blankets and clothes," Inen told journalists in Bandung on Tuesday.

According to the Indonesian Red Cross (PMI), the victims had received donations from the PMI's Bandung branch, which said it handed out 275 kilograms of rice, 20 boxes of instant noodles and six boxes of mineral water.

Inen added that the hardest-hit areas were Pasawahan, Citeureup, Cangkuan Wetan and Dayeuhkolot subdistricts. The overflowing Citarum river's tributaries -- Cipalasari, Cikapundung Kolot, Cigede, Cisuminta and Citepus rivers -- were cited as the main cause of the floods.

A lack of food and clean water was also a problem for approximately 12,000 displaced persons in Baleendah district's four villages -- Rancamanyar, Andir, Baleendah and Bojong.

The head of the development and community protection section at Bandung regency, Edin Hendradin, said on Tuesday that efforts to solicit donations for the flood victims had not really begun in earnest because flooding was fairly regular in those areas.

Moreover, the regency administration was also busy with the deadly "garbage-slide" in the villages adjacent to Leuwigajah dump in south Cimahi, where mountains of garbage collapsed and flattened at least 70 houses. Over 40 people have been found dead and almost 90 were still missing as of Tuesday afternoon.

"We'll divide the locations (of the disasters). Hopefully, the flood subsides soon so the residents can take care of their own needs and we can focus on the landslide," Edin said.

Floods in south Bandung also swamped hundreds of houses in Majalaya district's seven villages -- Majakerta, Majasetra, Sukamaju, Sukamukti, Bojong, Padamulya and Majalaya -- but the water subsided a day later.

Bandung regency's council speaker, Husni Mutaqien, who visited flood victims in Dayeuhkolot on Monday night, urged the administration to concentrate on its river-dredging project in the Citarum and its tributaries.

Inen went on to say that the regency should also urge the Bandung city administration, which is located on higher ground, to work together to prevent more floods.

"The Bandung city administration should repair the drainage system there and add more water catchment areas so the waters will not rush down in to our villages," he said.