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Flash floods kill 17 and leave many stranded

More than 1,500 in shelters; relief effort in action

Ryan Dagur, Jakarta

February 18, 2013

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Flooding and landslides in Sulawesi province have killed at least 17 people since Sunday morning and dislocated more than 1,500 residents, according to the provincial disaster mitigation agency.

Heavy rains throughout the weekend sparked river flooding that has so far destroyed more than 1,000 homes and other structures across seven districts, with flood waters reaching levels of up to two meters in some areas.

“An emergency response team from the national disaster mitigation agency has visited the affected areas. The local government will keep its eyes open. I have told the president [Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono] about it as well,” said Governor Sinyo Harry Sarundajang in an interview with 

He added that mattresses, tents, blankets and food have been distributed to victims in emergency shelters.

Jeanette Mandagi of the Manado diocese’s Commission for Socio-Economic Development told today that a team from the commission visited affected areas on Sunday. 

“We are now waiting for them to come back this afternoon, and they will give us information on what is needed for the victims,” she said. 

“We prefer not to distribute the same materials as given by the local government, NGOs and individuals,” she added. 

The commission will coordinate with the Manado vicariate to distribute aid.

Meanwhile, an environmental activist was quick to blame the flooding on illegal logging and poor land management.

“Illegal logging and forest-to-farmland conversion remain serious issues in this province,” said Edo Rahman of the Indonesia Forum for the Environment in Sulawesi.

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