Friday, April 15, 2005

Floods isolated 120,000 people in Kalimantan

Heavy flood left 120,000 people in Kutai Barat regency, East Kalimantan (Borneo) living in isolation as almost 190 villages filled with sea of water from Barito River, the largest in the island. Far lower side of the river in Barito Kuala regency, South Kalimantan, at least 30,000 people also living under isolation with water everywhere around their houses.

Kompas daily reported Friday that Barito River’s water level increased by at least seven meters due to heavy rain, which caused the flood and cut most of transportation infrastructures in surrounding areas. At least nine bridges in the area are broken and most houses are in the water already. Some villagers flee to higher grounds.

Ismael Thomas, deputy regent of Kutai Barat said this is the worst flood ever in the area. Almost 70% education and healthcare facilities are dormant. The problem is most of the areas couldn’t be reached through land transportation to deliver foods and medicines.

To make things worse, people are left without electricity as five diesel-fired power plants also filled with water. Water also overflowing to rice (main staple) silos.

In the past, East Kalimantan and South Kalimantan were the centers for heavy rainforest cutting to feed plywood or pulp and paper plants in Indonesia. Unchecked logging and failed re-forestation disrupts the natural absorption and flow of rainwater from highlands, triggering floods and landslides.

Indonesia had lost more than 75 percent of its forests over the past few decades, leaving only 60 million hectares (148 million acres). In the past five years, some 43 million hectares of Indonesia's forests, or the equivalent of more than half of Kalimantan, has been damaged.



Post a Comment

<< Home