Tue, 30 May 2000

Toll from Belu flooding estimated at Rp 761 billion

MAUMERE, East Nusa Tenggara (JP): The recent floods which swept the regency of Belu in East Nusa Tenggara province have inflicted a total of at least Rp 761 billion in financial losses, an official said.

Spokesman for the East Nusa Tenggara province J.B. Nani Kosapilawan said that the amount was a tentative calculation based on loss in cash and livestock.

"Detailed calculations have yet to be made," Nani said, adding that Rp 8 billion in aid from the Ministry of Resettlement and Regional Development had been used for emergency purposes.

"The money from Ibu (Mrs.) Erna Witoelar money was used to build emergency settlement," Nani said.

The Office of Coordinating Minister for People's Welfare had also donated Rp 10 million in cash, 500 boxes of medicine, 120 tons of rice, 3,000 pieces of sarong, and 5,000 pieces of children clothes, he added.

According to Nani the Peduli Indonesia foundation of the Indonesian Army Headquarters donated 1,200 shoes, 100 boxes of used clothes for women and 75 bags of instant noodles.

Big floods swept away the districts of West and Central Malaka two weeks ago, killing almost 40 people, ravaging thousands of buildings, including residents' houses, school buildings and government offices.

Thousands of school children have had to stay at home as their school buildings were demolished by the floods.

Recent reports said that thousands of people, who have been living in temporary shelters after their houses were swallowed by the floods, are lacking food.

The crisis post at Betun in Belu regency reported on Sunday that hunger threatened almost 24,500 people in the shelters.

"There is no more rice. This worries us very much," Maj. Siddi Purnomo, deputy chief of the flood task force in Betun, said.

He acknowledged that the North Central Timor Military District Command had given 1.5 tons of rice.

"But we'll be in a tough spot if additional aid comes late. We'll be running out of food in the coming weeks."

Since the refugees lived in the shelters, a total of 146.2 tons of rice had been received from UNHCR and local administrations, he said. (yac/sur)