Death toll in Jakarta New Year floods hits 60

Tens of thousands remain displaced as church aid agencies fear more rain will bring further misery
Death toll in Jakarta New Year floods hits 60

Volunteers from Jakarta Archdiocese's Daya Dharma Institute distribute basic needs to flood victims in Jakarta. (Photo supplied)

Caritas Indonesia (Karina) has joined forces with Jakarta Archdiocese in distributing aid to people hard hit by floods in and around Indonesia’s capital over the New Year period that have killed dozens of people.

According to the National Disaster Management Agency (BNPB), at least 60 people have died because of floods and landslides in Jakarta, West Java and Banten provinces, while more than 90,000 people remain displaced.

The floods are considered among the worst to have ravaged the Indonesian capital and its suburbs since records began.

Karina and Jakarta Archdiocese’s emergency response team Daya Dharma Institute have been distributing aid in 14 of the hardest-hit parishes in Jakarta Archdiocese and Bogor Diocese, Maria Lakaseru, Karina’s emergency response coordinator, told ucanews on Jan 5.

“Refugee service centers, public kitchens and health service centers have been established and are up and running in all these parishes,” she said. 

Karina is providing, food clothes, boats and medicines.

Jesuit Father Christoforus Kristiono Puspo, director of the Daya Dharma Institute, said the main priority was meeting the needs of victims in shelters because their houses were damaged by floods. He said his group had 55 volunteers working with local people in affected areas.

Father Kristiono said his team is supplying food to the parishes running public kitchens and providing clothes and blankets. It is also providing uniforms and study tools for students returning to school this week after the Christmas and New Year holidays.

The priest said emergency aid was not only coming from Catholics but also from Buddhists, Confucians and Muslims.

He also expressed fears that further rain that has been forecast could prolong people’s misery. “The BNPB says more rain is expected in the coming weeks, so we have to be ready,” he said.

After the emergency has ended, the group and Karina will help repair damaged homes.

Nur Asnawati, 37, said she and her family fled their home and had been staying in a shelter in East Jakarta since Jan. 1 after the bank of the Ciliwung River burst.

“My house was inundated by floodwater two meters high and is covered with mud and all kinds of rubbish,” she told ucanews.

She said that if there is no one to help her fix up her house, she doesn’t know whether she will be ever able to return there.

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