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Eight bridges collapse in C. Sulawesi after flooding PALU - Eight bridges in Central Sulawesi have collapsed in floods caused by incessant rain over the past two weeks. The natural disaster, which is common during the wet season, also cut roads linking several parts of the province, an official said on Saturday. Mashud Kasim, the head of the Central Sulawesi Office of Settlement and Regional Infrastructure, said damages that the provincial government would have to bear amounted to Rp 38.5 billion (US$4.5 billion).
The office has earmarked Rp 3.5 billion to repair the damage, but it has to work hard to find other financial sources to cover the total estimated expenses. "We are unable to shoulder the burden alone. The central government definitely has to help us," said Mashud. Of the eight collapsed bridges, one was located in Podi subdistrict in Tojo Unauna regency, one in Tawaili subdistrict in Palu municipality, and another in Kebun Kopi subdistrict in Donggala regency. The remaining five were two in Loli Tasiburi, Donggala regency, and three in Palolo subdistrict, also in Donggala regency.
Meanwhile, roads connecting Palu and several other cities in Central Sulawesi were still obstructed due to flood and landslides. The road connecting Taweli and Toboli, for example, was still covered with mud and fallen trees on Saturday, preventing cars from using the road. On Saturday, the Office of Settlement and Regional Infrastructure had begun to clear the debris, but its efforts were impeded by sporadic rainfall in the area.
Officials have advised motorists to take an alternative route to reach Palu, and vice versa, for example, the Tambu and Kasimbar route. Meanwhile, Mashud said that floods and torrential rain had also swept away 12 houses and severely damaged 22 houses. Local residents complained that the government had yet to disburse aid to them. Muhammad Amin, 35, a resident of Loli Tosiburi subdistrict, claimed that he had lost his house and all his furniture in the flood.
Mashud confirmed that the government had yet to disburse aid to the residents, but quickly added that the aid, in the form of building materials, would be immediately distributed to flood victims. Separately, South Sulawesi Governor Amin Syam said on Sunday his province needed Rp 187 billion to rebuild infrastructure damaged by floods and to help victims in 10 regencies and cities.
He made the statement during a discussion with Coordinating Minister for People's Welfare Jusuf Kalla, Minister of Social Affairs Bachtiar Chamsyah and Minister of Health Achmad Suyudi and six regents and mayors in Maros regency, some 30 kilometers from the South Sulawesi capital Makassar. Amin said the floods, landslides and a gale in South Sulawesi had caused material losses of around Rp 100 billion and killed at least 11 people, including five who were buried in a landslide in Majene regency.
During the visit to Maros, Kalla donated Rp 1.5 billion, Chamsyah Rp 250 million and Suyudi Rp 100 million for the victims of the disaster. Suyudi promised to give Rp 224 million more in assistance. Kalla said the central government could not provide all the funds needed by regions to rebuild infrastructure destroyed or damaged by natural disasters. This year, the House of Representatives approved only Rp 1 trillion to be allocated for emergency aid across the country, he said.
Meanwhile, flooding has largely subsided in other areas across the archipelago, but the worst is apparently yet to come. Residents in the Riau capital of Pekanbaru, for example, expressed concern on Saturday that floods might again hit their area. "Thick clouds still blanketed Pekanbaru on Friday and Saturday. We fear that heavy rain will fall again and result in another flood," said Nuraini, who was cleaning mud from her house as she spoke.
Floods in Riau province have resulted in the deaths of three children and inundated thousands of hectares of paddy fields in five regencies. The South Kalimantan capital Banjarmasin has been experiencing storms since Friday, causing blackouts in several areas of the city. Strong winds have ripped off the roofs of some houses in the capital.



Posted in Flooding @ 29 December 2003 00:01 CET by Jeroen · 'Blog' RSS feed · permalink






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