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Jember's victims build hope out of the mud JEMBER - Wielding a shovel, Neneng cleared the thick layer of mud from her house. "It's difficult to get rid of the mud. I am glad to have the help of my relatives," said Neneng, one of the survivors of the Jember flash floods on Sunday, the death toll of which climbed to 77 on Thursday. Neneng and her husband Syamsul Arifin said they had seen tons of mud cascading toward their house on Monday in Panti district, Jember regency, East Java.

They had gotten out before it hit the house and sought refuge with thousands of others in a shelter in the district. They had saved some of their valuables but had given up on retrieving the rest of their belongings. With their only son Feri, 13, they share stories of the disaster with relatives and friends who made it to the displaced persons shelter. The news that their papaya plantation was destroyed by the mudslide was hard to bear as it was their primary source of income, earning them Rp 200,000 (US$20) a week.

"I have no idea how to support my family now," said Syamsul, his voice dropping to a whisper. Of crucial concern to the survivors is how to get food. Helicopters have begun to deliver food aid and public kitchens have been set up but no one knows how long the food distribution will last. Officials have said that some 6,000 people are camping out in government buildings and schools. Whether they are up to the job of providing them with enough food and medicine to stay healthy remains to be seen.

More flash floods and landslides in the area cannot be ruled out. Eddi Waluyo, an official of the East Java Meteorology and Geophysics Agency, says rain will continue to beat down on East Java until the end of February. But, despite the challenges, Syamsul and his family know that they must pick up the pieces. Braving more flash floods, they returned to their home on Thursday and began to clean up. The family worked hard to recover what was left after the disaster. "I do not want to spend the rest of my life in a refugee shelter," said Syamsul.


Link to related event Related event:
Landslides in Java

Related blog entries (category 'Flooding') Related blog entries (category 'Flooding'):
05 January 2006 · Jember flood death toll rises to 77
05 January 2006 · Death toll of Jember floods rise to 85
04 January 2006 · Torrent too strong to fight: Survivor
04 January 2006 · Jember rescue efforts hampered
03 January 2006 · Java flood death toll hits 59, villages cut off


Posted in Flooding @ 06 January 2006 07:15 CET by Jeroen · 'Blog' RSS feed · permalink






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