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Downed comm lines hamper Natuna landslide evacuation efforts

Jakarta Post - March 10, 2023

A. Muh. Ibnu Aqil, Jakarta – Downed communication lines following a landslide in the remote region of Natuna, Riau Islands, which killed at least 30 people, are hindering evacuation efforts.

National Disaster Mitigation Agency (BNPB) head Suharyanto said he had instructed Natuna regency administration to quickly recover the downed communication lines as they were important for disaster mitigation efforts.

He also said local radio stations should be recovered soon to help mitigation efforts, and he had asked two national telecommunication providers XL and Telkomsel to quickly restore their telecommunication services on Serasan island.

"These must be done quickly," Suharyanto said in a statement on Wednesday.

The landslide on Serasan Island, 80 kilometers off the coast of Kalimantan and part of the Natuna Islands chain, occurred on Monday following six days of heavy rain.

Evacuation efforts still continue the search for the body of victims killed by the landslide and those who are still missing.

Muhamad, spokesperson of the joint disaster mitigation team, said up to 30 houses had been detected to have been buried by the landslides.

Suharyanto said the Natuna Regency administration would relocate as many as 100 families from their old houses to new locations to prevent them from becoming victims of future landslides.

"We have secured plots of land [for the relocation]," Suharyanto said.

The Public Works and Public Housing Ministry will build new houses for 100 relocated families, which the BNPB will fully fund.

Following the landslide, as many as 1,300 residents evacuated to shelters closer to the coast, namely the Serasan border post (PLBN), a Serasan community health center (Puskesmas), Al-Furqon Mosque and Senior High School (SMA) 1 Serasan building.

From Jakarta, the BNPB had also sent a logistic aid package for the landslide victims consisting of ready-to-eat meals, large evacuation tents and family-sized tents, mobile electricity generators and portable lamps, as well as blankets, mattresses and folded beds.

Dozens of search and rescue personnel from the National Search and Rescue Agency (Basarnas), the Indonesian Military and the National Police among others have been dispatched to Serasan island to aid evacuation efforts.

The BNPB also handed over an emergency fund (DSP) of Rp 1 billion (US$64,773) for the Natuna regency administration for landslide disaster mitigation efforts.

The Meteorology, Climatology and Geophysics Agency (BMKG) said there was still land that could potentially be dislodged should there be heavy rain in the area.

The disaster agency previously said the landslide was estimated to have been 100-200 meters long.

Source: https://www.thejakartapost.com/indonesia/2023/03/10/downed-comm-lines-hamper-natuna-landslide-evacuation-efforts.htm