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Central, West Kalimantan declare state of emergency after two weeks of flooding

Jakarta Post - September 24, 2020

Nina A. Loasana, Jakarta – Massive flooding has inundated dozens of districts in Central Kalimantan and West Kalimantan over the last 15 days, causing the two provincial administrations to declare a state of emergency.

Adi Cahyono, head of the Central Kalimantan Indonesia volunteer society of humanitarian organization Aksi Cepat Tanggap (ACT), said that floods had affected 4,509 families in nine districts in Seruyan regency, Central Kalimantan.

"Based on data from the Central Kalimantan Disaster Mitigation Agency [BPBD], 16,459 people were affected [by the flood]. At least 4,000 houses were damaged in nine districts, namely Seruyan Tengah, Batu Ampar, Antang Kalang, Marikit, Mentaya Hulu, Seruyan Hulu, Suling Tambun, Manjul and Danau Seluluk," Adi told The Jakarta Post on Wednesday.

He said that as the distance between districts was quite far, with floodwater hitting the districts at different times, some areas started to experience flooding in the past few days after floodwater had already receded in other districts.

According to Adi, the highest water level was recorded on the eighth day of the floods, reaching up to 3.5 meters. He said that based on locals' and the regent's accounts, flooding in Seruyan regency was the worst it had been in the last 15 years.

As reported by kompas.id, besides Seruyan regency, flooding also affected dozens of other districts in six regencies: Katingan, Lamandau, East Kotawaringin, West Kotawaringin, Kapuas and Murung Raya.

Adi said that despite the organization's efforts to deliver supplies such as staple food, diapers, and hygiene kits to victims, the flood had cut off road access to some villages, leaving residents without access to aid.

Reports from TVOne on Tuesday stated that hundreds of residents affected by the flood in Katingan regency, Central Kalimantan, had not received sufficient aid in the past two weeks.

Many residents opted to stay in their homes despite struggling to get access to clean water and food. Several residents contracted water-borne diseases such as diarrhea and skin diseases.

Acting head of the Central Kalimantan Disaster and Fire Mitigation Agency, Darliansjah, said his agency was trying to deliver aid to affected areas as fast as possible, using helicopters to transport supplies to areas that could not be accessed through land.

"We had also deployed health workers to emergency shelters to handle common diseases during flooding," he said on Sunday as reported by kompas.id.

Elsewhere, flooding also struck 15 villages in two districts in Ketapang regency, West Kalimantan.

"Water levels varied from 50 centimeters to 2.5 meters," the National Disaster Mitigation Agency's (BNPB) Data Information and Disaster Communication Center head, Raditya Jati, said in a statement.

Raditya stated that there were 20 districts in Ketapang regency with a combined population of 270,530 people that were at risk of flooding.

"We urge residents to stay alert as the Meteorology, Climatology and Geophysics Agency [BMKG] has warned of heavy rainstorms in West Kalimantan. We advise those who had to evacuate their homes to always adhere to health protocols to prevent the spread of COVID-19," he said.

Both the West Kalimantan and Central Kalimantan administrations declared a 14-day state of emergency in response to the flooding, which would last until Sept. 26 and 27 respectively.

Heavy downpours also caused flooding in several other regions in Indonesia, including Jakarta and parts of West Java.

Source: https://www.thejakartapost.com/news/2020/09/24/central-west-kalimantan-declare-state-of-emergency-after-two-weeks-of-flooding.html