More than a hundred died in NTT flash flood

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Flash flood and landslides in East Nusa Tenggara, Sunday (04/04/2021)

IO – A flash flood and landslide disaster occurred in the Province of East Nusa Tenggara (Nusa Tenggara Timur – “NTT”) on Sunday (04/04/2021). Head of the National Board of Disaster Management (Badan Nasional Penanggulangan Bencana – “BNPB”) Disaster Data, Information, and Communication Center Raditya Jati stated that the primary cause of the disaster was an extreme weather incident – a tropical cyclone. “The potential for extreme weather due to the Seroja tropical cyclone to continue in East Nusa Tenggara in the next few days is quite high,” he said. “This condition affects several regency and municipal administrative areas: the city of Kupang and the Regencies of East Flores, Malaka, Lembata, Ngada, West Sumba, East Sumba, Rote Ndao, and Alor.”

Regional Governments continue to update data from a quick count in the field: “BNPB currently recorded 128 deaths in the Regencies of Lembata (67 persons), East Flores (49), and Alor (12),” Raditya said on Tuesday (6/4/2021). “Refugees are distributed in five regencies throughout NTT. Most are staying in the Regency of east Sumba (7,212 persons, 1,803 Household Heads), Lembata (958 persons), Rote Ndao (672 persons, 153 Household Heads), West Sumba (284 persons, 63 Household Heads) and East Flores (256 persons). 72 persons have gone missing from the Regencies of Alor (28 persons), East Flores (23), and Lembata (21). Material losses due to extreme weather disaster in NTT include: 1,962 housing units were affected, 119 housing units were badly damaged, 118 housing units were medium damaged, and 34 housing units were lightly damaged; 14 public facility units were badly damaged, 1 public facility unit is lightly damaged, and 84 public facility units were affected.”

BNPB Head Doni Monardo stated that the regions worst affected by the flooding and landslides are the Districts of Adonara and Lembata. The total number of buildings damaged in these two Districts and in the Regency of Alor is almost 500 units. “We of the BNPB and the Ministry of Public Works and Public Housing are planning for the relocation of the residents in these areas,” he said.

Doni went on to state that the joint team of the Ministry of Social Affairs, the National Army, and the National Police has set up field kitchens at nearly all refuge points, to ensure that no disaster victim lack logistic supplies and to mitigate their suffering. BNPB has also mobilized a number of helicopters and a cargo plane to help distribute logistics. Health facilities and services are prepared throughout most of the disaster area. However, the number of health workers in these facilities is still limited. “The Ministry of Health, represented by the Head of its Crisis Center, has coordinated the mobilization of health workers from several other provinces, including South Sulawesi and East Java,” he said.

Doni then declared that there is a sufficient supply of medicine for now, except for the equipment to treat bone fractures. However, BNPB is working to secure more medical supplies from Jakarta, Surabaya, and Makassar. “BNPB and the Ministry of Health is also distributing rapid antigen throughout the region in order to allow screening of both local citizens and incoming rescuers, whether from the Army, the Police, or volunteers,” he said.

Meanwhile, Head of the Meteorology, Climatology, and Geophysics Agency (Badan Meteorologi, Klimatologi, dan Geofisika – “BMKG”) Dwikorita Karnawati mobilized officers to the refuge sites in order to smooth the flow of information dissemination concerning the disaster. “We have sent officers to refuge spots to inform the people and reassure them. We have created WhatsApp groups for refugees in order to make it even easier to tell them about the latest weather changes and early warning,” she said on Tuesday (06/04/2021).

Dwikorita went on to explain that the Seroja tropical cyclone was detected as early as 2 April 2021. At the time, the BMKG disseminated information to various groups, including to the relevant Regional Governments. This is the tenth cyclone detected by the BMKG in Jakarta tropical cyclone warning center this year, and the strongest one so far. “The cyclone is one of the impacts of increased sea surface temperature in the area to 30o Celsius, quite a bit higher than the average temperature for the region of 26o Celsius,” she said. (Ekawati)