Indonesian flood toll rises, hits transport
January 2, 2008, 4:31 am
Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: ,

Jakarta (ANTARA News) – Indonesia’s main island of Java was hit by further flooding on Tuesday, bringing the total number of dead or missing people from recent rain-related disasters to 121, officials said.

More than 60,000 people have been displaced in Central and East Java since last week after the Bengawan Solo river burst its banks due to heavy rains, causing widespread flooding and several landslides.

The river flows through the city of Solo, a popular tourist destination due to its royal palace and batik industry, and east through agricultural areas towards Surabaya, Indonesia’s second-biggest city.

The flooding has submerged agricultural land and disrupted transport by road and railway. Two trains traveling from the capital Jakarta and Central Java to Surabaya in East Java have stopped operating, according to state news agency Antara.

At least 99 people have been killed and 22 others were missing in Central Java and East Java provinces, according to Rustam Pakaya, head of the health ministry’s crisis centre, and flooding has now spread further east, with Lamongan the latest
district to be hit.

“In some areas flooding has subsided but it gets worse in other areas,” Pakaya told Reuters.

Tonnes of food, medicine, water purifiers and mobile clinics have been sent to the affected areas, the official said.

Rescuers have used helicopters and rubber boats to deliver food and rescue residents, many of whom had been forced to seek safety on their rooftops.

In Bojonegoro, East Java, the floodwaters were as much as two metres (6.5 feet) deep, submerging homes, shops and other buildings, and paralysing a large part of the district.

“In Bojonegoro, everything is inundated, including hospitals,” East Java Governor Imam Utomo said on national radio.

Landslides and floods are a common occurence during the rainy season in Indonesia, especially in heavily logged areas.

Indonesia’s leading environmental group, Walhi, says ecological destruction caused by deforestation, land conversion and chaotic planning contributed to the disasters. (*)


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