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Search continues for four missing in deadly Papua landslide

Landslide in West Papua

Posted at 05:59 on 17 January, 2008 UTC

Four people remain missing following a landslide in the provincial capital of Indonesia’s Papua on Tuesday which left at least eleven people dead.

The Jakarta Post reports that five people were rescued from the landslide at a Jayapura housing compound and are being treated in hospital with reported serious injuries.

Four further people are believed to be missing and rescue workers are continuing their search today.


The following news is a translation from Okezone

JAYAPURA – Heavy rain that flushed Jayapura, since Monday (14/1/2008) evening, resulted in at least 11 residents of Kel Bhayangkara, buried by landslide in West Papua.

Search efforts carried out by joint officers from the TNI, Polri, and related officials from the Papua Provincial Government bore fruit when yesterday morning four bodies were found. Then at noon the bodies that were successfully evacuated reached 11 people.

Meanwhile, the search for other victims who may still be buried is still underway. Apart from the landslides in Kel Bhayangkara, another disaster was felt by the residents of Kel Gurabesi. The settlement of residents in the sub-district which is right at the BRI Bank Jayapura office was flooded by overflowing water from the Anafri River. The flood this time is very large compared to the flood that occurred the previous year.

On Monday night, a resident’s house was washed away as a result of the intense exposure of the river that had overflowed the waist of an adult. However, by Tuesday afternoon, the water level began to decline. Similar flood disasters have also occurred in the Youtefa Market area.

Due to the flood, market activity did not proceed because the water level on Tuesday morning reached 1 meter. Deputy Governor of Papua Alex Hasegem told reporters after conducting a survey of the landslide location in Kel Bhayangkara, emphasizing that the landslide disaster was caused by the land above the Mount Cyclops area, Jayapura City had changed its function.

Excavation of various rocks and traditional gold panning is rife in the Cyclops Mountains nature reserve, which is supposed to be preserved. As a result, continued Alex, when the rainy season came, the Cyclops Mountains could no longer withstand rainwater and landslides and floods in most parts of Jayapura were inevitable.

“It has been repeated many times that both the provincial and Jayapura municipal government officials have appealed to residents carrying out excavation activities in the Cyclops Mountain area not to carry out their activities. However, this appeal has not been heeded. Now people are feeling the consequences of switching the function of the Cyclops Mountain area,” he said. Alex, Tuesday (15/1/2008).

Alex asked the joint apparatus handling landslide victims to continue searching for victims who were still buried by landslides. He also asked related agencies to immediately take steps to deal with residents who were victims of landslides.

“I ask to immediately open a soup kitchen for residents who are victims of landslides. Residents who have lost relatives immediately report it to the officer so that search steps are taken around the landslide area,” he said.

Separately, Pangdam XVII Cenderawasih Maj. Gen. Haryadi Soetanto emphasized that his apparatus would continue to try to help find victims buried by landslides. “In fact, if necessary, we will help the local community to clean up residential areas from land piles,” he said.

Haryadi added that the TNI was ready to assist the relevant authorities in securing the Cyclops Mountains area, which is currently an illegal mining area. Meanwhile, Maria, a resident of Kel Bhayangkara who survived the landslide disaster, told reporters that the landslide occurred on Tuesday at around 03.30 WIT.

“I heard the screams of residents who flocked to save themselves. However, there were residents who were late and were still sleeping soundly and eventually they were planted with landslides,” he said.

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This Blog has gone through many obstacles and attacks from violent Free West Papua separatist supporters and ultra nationalist Indonesian since 2007. However, it has remained throughout a time devouring thoughts of how to bring peace to Papua and West Papua provinces of Indonesia.

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