Church sends aid to Sumatra flood victims
Deforestation blamed for forced evacuation
Thousands of people affected by flooding in Mentawai Islands are getting rice, clothes, blankets, drinking water and cooking utensils. The relief items were sent by the diocese of Padang in West Sumatra province yesterday.
Heavy rains last week caused rivers to overflow, inundating more than 1,000 houses in four sub-district and forcing around 7,000 people to flee their homes.
Some of the victims could do no better than climb onto their rooftops, said villager Besman Salelubaja.
Many are now in temporary shelters.
“For two days we could not cook and waited for outside help. Our cooking utensils were carried away by flood water,” said Bruno Sagari from Muntei village, in South Siberut sub-district.
Father Alexius Sudarmanto, head of the diocesan Socio-Economic Development Commission-Caritas (PSE Caritas), said the commission sent those materials to the Assumption of Mary Church in Siberut, the nearest station to flood victims.
The condition of the area made it difficult for his team to transport and distribute the materials, he said.
"Deforestation has caused a low quality of land, which eventually results in the sedimentation of the Sikabaluan River," he said. Sedimentation, in turn, contributes to river overflow.
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