Saturday, February 27, 2010

Hundreds of rescuers respond to floods and landslides

Hundreds of rescuers in the Indonesian province of West Java continue the search for survivors after heavy rains triggered a landslide early on Tuesday morning that engulfed 37 homes. As of midday on Wednesday, 17 bodies had been recovered while over 50 remain missing.

The Indonesian Red Cross (PMI) has sent two ambulance helicopters to the site of the landslide near Ciwidey village, close to the city of Bandung. The air ambulances will work with PMI’s 40 disaster response team members fr
om Bandung who have been deployed to help in evacuating people to a safer area.


“We decided to send helicopters to support the evacuation process because the area is fairly remote and difficult to reach,” says PMI’s Secretary General Budi Atmadi Adiputro. The Red Cross has also sent hygiene kits and blankets for survivors who have taken refuge in temporary shelters.

Because of the heavy flooding and how difficult it is to reach the landslide area, the Red Cross also sent an amphibious truck along with excavating equipment. In collaboration with local health office, the Red Cross has set up a health post. Plans are also in place to open a field kitchen to provide meals for the 500 survivors of the disaster.

Tenjolaya - Ciwidey is a mountainous village in the middle of a tea plantation. While the village is situated barely 35 kilometres southwest of Bandung City, it takes more than two hours for local plantation workers to reach the main road.

The landslide not only buried houses but also destroyed the tea factory, community health centre, mosque, and local security post. The Red Cross has opened a restoring family links desk where PMI volunteers are ready to assist villagers with information about missing relatives.

Worst flood in two decades

Since the end of January, Bandung district has been hit several times by flash floods. Water levels reaching 1 to 3 metres in height have inundated five sub districts, Baleendah and Dayeuhkolot being the two most severely affected areas. Many say this is the worst flood in Bandung for the past two decades.

According to the Government, up to 11,000 people have been affected by the flooding. Almost 5,000 houses have been inundated and over 3,000 people in two sub districts required evacuation to safer places.

The Red Cross has mobilised 12 disaster response teams and 64 community based action team members to help people in the affected areas. Four rubber boats have been deployed to help survivors and two field kitchens have been operating in the two worst affected sub districts providing meals for more than 2,500 people. To help survivors get immediate medical treatment, ambulances with doctors and nurses have been sent to the temporary sites where the displaced people currently live.

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