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Sumatera flood death toll at 239 JAKARTA - A flash flood that swept through a resort town in North Sumatra province earlier this month may have killed up to 239 people, a report said Sunday (23/11/03). State news agency Antara said 157 bodies had been recovered and 82 people were still missing and presumed dead.
The flood devastated Bahorok town in Langkat district on the night of November 2, destroying more than 450 buildings. Senior government officials and environmentalists have said the disaster was greatly exacerbated by rampant illegal logging in the nearby Gunung Leuser National Park.
Antara reported that hundreds of local residents and volunteer searchers, including university students from the North Sumatra capital of Medan, have taken a break from the search to prepare for the upcoming Lebaran/Idul Fitri holiday period. "All search activities are halted starting today but will be resumed after the Lebaran festivity," said Langkat district chief Syamsul Arifin.
The district chief on Saturday received Rp87 million in aid from the Association of Indonesian Palm Oil Businessmen (Gapki). Plantation firms have been blamed for much of the deforestation in Sumatra. On Sunday, a group of Muslims from Singapore visited the scene of the flood. They presented North Sumatra Governor Rizal Nurdin with S$12,300 in financial aid, as well as 1,000 sacks of cement, 750 pieces of corrugated iron roofing material, wood and planks, and foodstuffs worth S$5,000.
Indonesian Red Cross chairman Mar’ie Muhammad had earlier this month urged local authorities to account for the spending and distribution of assistance intended for the flood victims. Police have formed a team to investigate the extent to which illegal logging was responsible for the scale of the disaster. Environmentalists say illegal logging in the national park has been carried out by locals on behalf of a notorious businessman, who enjoys close relations with local security and government officials.
The businessman, who is also an alleged fuel smuggler, remains free - apparently because of his collusion with influential local officials.


A 12-year-old girl was killed inside her house on Friday by a landslide in Garut regency, West Java province, Antara reported. Lilin bin D. Supardy was buried by the landslide that occurred after incessant rainfall in Cukang village, Cikajang subdistrict. The disaster also destroyed the house but the girl’s parents survived.

Dam Collapses
In East Java’s Malang district, at least 96 people were evacuated from Pujiharjo and Purwodadi villages on Sunday after a dam on the Tundo River collapsed. Malang district administration chief Sujud Pribadi said the dam had collapsed on Saturday afternoon but the villagers could not be immediately evacuated due to communication problems.
There were no reports of fatalities, but the strong current reportedly destroyed about 72 hectares of crops and damaged 40 houses.



Posted in Flooding @ 11 December 2003 00:01 CET by Jeroen · 'Blog' RSS feed · permalink






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