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Caritas rushes aid to flood victims

Hundreds of families affected as flood-prevention dam fails

Heavy downpours have flooded thousands of homes and cut food supplies Heavy downpours have flooded thousands of homes and cut food supplies
  • by Fransiskus P. Seran, Besikama
  • Indonesia
  • June 7, 2012
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The Church has rushed aid this week to hundreds of families badly affected by flash floods that have left large parts of  Belu district, in East Nusa Tenggara province under water.

Heavy rain in the past few weeks caused a breach in a 60-meter flood-control dam on the Benenain River, with the resulting flood water inundating agricultural land and 10 villages in the district.

Four villages in West Malaka sub-district were the worst hit with 625 families left stranded by flood waters that were at least a meter deep in some places.

On Tuesday Caritas Indonesia in cooperation with Atambua diocese’s Commission for Socio-Economic Development rushed five tons of rice, 700 bottles of cooking oil, tarpaulins and mosquito nets to the worst hit families.

St. John the Baptist Church, which serves the worst-affected villages, was converted into a distribution center.

Local authorities had already distributed some basic supplies and were providing health care to ward off water borne
diseases.

The Church team coordinator Gregorius Amisa said many people had lost everything in the flooding.

“[The water] has inundated houses and destroyed vast tracts of agricultural land,” Amisa said.

“We want to build solidarity and show the people the Church really cares,” he added.

The team will also try to come up with a disaster management plan that will help local people protect themselves from future floods, he said.

He said the district government, the Church and local people will need to discuss ways of repairing the dam and ensuring it holds firm.

The dam was also breached in March last year leading to severe flooding and the evacuation of many families.

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