Natural Disasters in Indonesia

Two big disasters in Indonesia have been in the news lately. First the quake/tsunami in West Sumatera, followed closely by the eruption of Mount Merapi in Java.

A less widely reported disaster I only just heard about from a friend on Saturday is massive flooding in West Papua.

On Monday, 4 October, a flash flood reportedly swept through Wasior, near Manokwari, the provincial capital of West Papua (approx. 475 miles west of where I lived in Jayapura). Heavy rains around Asia also caused flooding and deaths in Vietnam, and led the evacuation of 64,000 people in Hainan, China. As I peruse articles about the flood and subsequent rescue efforts on the Jakarta Post website, it goes from 6 people killed, to 10, to 56, then 90, and finally, over 100. A friend in the country said over the weekend that it’s now over 160 dead and 121 missing, with over 1,000 people injured as deep muddy water swept through the town, injuring and killing people with logs, rocks and other debris in the flow.

Manokwari, West Papua

Relief efforts are under way with assistance from the government, the local church and outside groups. I’ll post updates as I learn anything new, including ways to help.

Obstacles slowing down efforts in Papua include inaccessibility as a result of washed out roads and bridges for relief workers, lack of resources, slow and incomplete communication, isolation of the region itself as well as individual villages.

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