11 Dead, Homes Swept Away as Flash Flood Hits Aceh Villages

Tangse, TAG - At least 11 people were killed and more than 100 homes destroyed in a flash flood that struck Pidie district in Aceh on Thursday night.

The flood, caused by heavy rains that forced rivers to burst their banks, sent residents of eight villages in Tangse subdistrict fleeing for higher ground.
Suadi Sulaiman, a member of the Pidie district legislature, said on Friday that the latest death toll was 11, with five dead in Alue Jambee village — all from the same family — three in Blang Dalam village, two in Layan village and one in Peunalom Satu village.
“However, the death toll could still rise because several of the survivors have reported members of their families missing,” he said.
As of Friday afternoon, six people were reported missing. Five others were being treated for serious injuries after being struck by logs swept downhill. 
 Suryani, a resident of Alue Jambee whose father, husband and three children were killed, said they had survived the initial surge of water by fleeing to the top of a nearby hill. 
“Then all of a sudden a wall of water came crashing over the top of the hill,” she said. “I managed to survive by clinging on to a log so I wouldn’t drown.” 
Nazir Adam, the Pidie deputy district head, blamed the severity of the flooding on illegal logging activities in the hilly area. 
He said that with the hillsides stripped of vegetation, there was nothing preventing the topsoil from being washed into the rivers during heavy rains and causing them to spill over. 
“It’s obvious from the amount of felled logs carried by the current,” Nazir said. 
He said thousands of residents had been forced to leave the area, while more than 100 homes had been destroyed, several stretches of road had been rendered impassable and bridges had been knocked down. 
Public buildings such as schools and mosques were also heavily damaged, while hundreds of hectares of farmland were inundated.
Nazir also called on the provincial administration and the central government to help in the relief efforts. 
“The Pidie administration can’t deal with this disaster on its own,” he said. 
Aceh Governor Irwandi Yusuf visited the area on Friday afternoon to hand out food to the survivors of the disaster. Separately, an official from the Indonesian Red Cross (PMI) said volunteers were being mobilized to help in the relief efforts. 
“The PMI is ready to mobilize volunteers from other regions to help the flash flood victims,” Asep Iwan Sugiana, from the organization’s Pidie branch, said on Friday. 
He added the PMI’s Aceh branch had already asked 23 of its offices at the district and municipal level to send volunteers to the stricken areas. 
“Our volunteers have begun collecting  data on the needs of the disaster victims,” Asep said, adding they were already handing out relief supplies. 
He also said the injured were being treated at community health centers, while temporary camps had been set up to house the evacuees. 
Asep said the financial damage from Thursday’s flash flood would likely be in the billions of rupiah (hundreds of thousands of dollars).[]
11 Dead, Homes Swept Away as Flash Flood Hits Aceh Villages 11 Dead, Homes Swept Away as Flash Flood Hits Aceh Villages Reviewed by Nurdin Hasan on March 12, 2011 Rating: 5

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