Sat, 02 Dec 2000

Four killed in Minahasa floods

JAKARTA (JP): Four people were killed, two infants are still missing and four other people were injured when a huge flood hit the regency of Minahasa, North Sulawesi, on Friday morning.

Meanwhile the floods which have hit many parts of Sumatra, killing at least 124 people, began receding.

Minahasa Police Precinct chief Supt. Yohannes Wardoyo confirmed the fatalities, saying that the four victims were all members of a family living in the village of Kaima, the district of Kauditan, some 15 kilometers southeast of the North Sulawesi capital of Manado.

Heavy rains were blamed for the flooding.

The mishap was believed to have taken place at 3 a.m. on Friday when water swept away the house in which 10 people were staying, including two infants, Wardoyo said, without going into detail.

He did not reveal the names of the victims, but said that the four injured had been rushed to a nearby hospital.

Antara reported that some people were feared dead after a passing car was hit by a landslide in the district of Langowan, some 60 kilometers southwest of Manado. The search for the driver and the passengers of the ill-fated vehicle continues.

Heavy downpour also crippled transportation in Minahasa, while Sario and Tondano rivers had broken their banks and damaged two bridges on the main trans-Sulawesi road which connects Manado to other regions of the province.

Floods crippled the capital of Manado in the morning as most of the city was inundated.

Water levels reached two meters high in several areas in the morning, and progressively receded in the afternoon.

Three people in Kampung Tubir were reportedly killed in the flood, however Manado mayor Wempie Frederik said that he had not yet received reports on casualties and that the losses were being calculated.

A shameful incident took place when Governor AJ Sondakh, who was visiting the flood-hit area of Ternate Baru, was pelted with mud by the residents. They said they were sick of waiting for the governor who arrived late to visit them, despite the fact that the governor arrived there at 11 a.m.


Meanwhile recent reports from Padang, West Sumatra stated that some 15,000 flood survivors in the Bukitganting village in Talamau district, Pasaman regency had been isolated as all land access to the area was destroyed by floods last week.

Pasaman regent H. Baharrudin told reporters on Friday that the people, mostly women and children, may face food shortages and suffer from disease soon.

In a related development Minister of Health and Social Welfare Achmad Sujudi said that his office was allocating some Rp 5 billion for medicine and medical equipment for the flood and landslide victims.

The National Board of Social Welfare (BKSN) which has just been merged with the ministry also helped by channeling no less than 200 tons of rice, Rp 200 million cash and thousands of sets of clothing for the victims in the three provinces as initial aid.

The British Ministry of International Development will reportedly provide humanitarian assistance worth 250,000 pound sterling (Rp 3.25 billion) to help victims of floods and landslides in Sumatra island.

The ministry's secretary, John Vereker, conveyed the pledge to Indonesian Manpower and Transmigration Minister Al Hilal Hamdi in London on Tuesday, the British embassy said in a statement made available to Antara here on Thursday.

Hamdi is visiting the United Kingdom to explore the possibility of sending skilled workers overseas, including to the UK.

The humanitarian assistance, Vereker said, would be channeled through institutions or organizations tasked to help catastrophe victims.

Although certain parts of the UK were also hit by floods recently, the British government has decided to provide the assistance as an expression of sympathy and friendship, he said.

"We were only inundated with water while the calamities in Sumatra island have claimed lives," Vereker said. (28/lup/edt/sur)