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Indonesia

Floods in Indonesia's South Sulawesi kill at least 21

Catholic agencies, volunteers collect aid supplies for thousands of victims

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Floods in Indonesia's South Sulawesi kill at least 21

Villagers search to remove belongings from their homes before heading to evacuation centers following flash floods in North Luwu district in Indonesia’s South Sulawesi province on July 15. (Photo: Hariandi Hafid/AFP)

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Makassar Archdiocese is collecting much-needed supplies to help thousands of people affected by flooding that also killed at least 21 in Indonesia’s South Sulawesi province this week.

Flash floods hit North Luwu district on July 13 after two days of heavy rainfall caused the Masamba, Rongkang, and Rada rivers to overflow.

The National Disaster Mitigation Agency reported on July 15 that at least 21 people were killed and two others were missing. An unspecified number were reported injured in the disaster.

Around 655 people were forced to flee their homes and 15,990 people were affected by the floods, which inundated 4,930 homes, washed away 10 houses and buried 213 more in mud, according to the agency.

“We are coordinating relief efforts with volunteers, mostly priests in Makassar Archdiocese. We are assessing who is most in need of help,” Father Bernard Cakra Arung Raya, who heads the archdiocese’s branch of Catholic relief agency Caritas, told UCA News over the phone from Makassar, the provincial capital.

“We have also opened three aid posts at churches in East Luwu and North Luwu district and one in a mission station in Masamba sub-district,” the priest said.

He also called on Catholics to donate aid material such as clothes, blankets, towels, medicines, ready-to-eat meals, toiletries and cleaning equipment.

“With Covid-19 in mind we also need face masks and disinfectants for both our volunteers and victims,” Father Raya said, adding that the Meteorology, Climatology and Geophysics Agency forecast more rain for the area this week.

Father Oktafianus Edy Kaniu, parish priest of St. Martin Church in East Luwu district and coordinator of an emergency response team in Masamba sub-district, said the aid posts will remain open for as long as necessary.

“We’re working with young Catholics in running them,” he told UCA News.

Three Catholic families living in Masamba sub-district were forced to flee their homes and were staying with relatives.

South Sulawesi Governor Nurdin Abdullah earlier told media that many displaced people were taking shelter in local government buildings and evacuation camps. 

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