Papua, Jubi – Indonesia has been hit by at least two major floods during this current transitional period from the rainy to the dry season, as high precipitation still occurs in several regions.
Floods have been reported in the provinces of West Java, East Java, Lampung, East Nusa Tenggara, South Sumatra, and Papua, among others. But East Java and Papua have been the worst hit by major flooding over the last several weeks.
In East Java, on March 5, 2019, floods triggered by heavy rains and the overflowing of several rivers, had inundated 15 districts and displaced nearly 12.5 thousand people, mostly in Madiun. Despite the widespread inundation, there were no reports of casualties.
In Papua, however, deadly flooding devastated Sentani and several other sub-districts in Jayapura District, and killed at least 112 people and rendered 94 others missing on March 16, 2019.
The natural disasters caused serious injuries to 107 people and minor injuries to 808 others.
A total of 374 homes, four bridges, five places of worship, eight school buildings, 104 home-cum-shops, and a traditional market were damaged. Furthermore, the natural disasters led to the displacement of 11,556 people.
The Papua provincial government has declared an emergency response period from March 16 to 29, 2019.
The Government has deployed a joint team comprising military and police personnel, among others, to continue search and rescue operations for the victims of the floods in Jayapura. Tens of NGOs have also volunteered in helping the rescue operations.
“Since yesterday evening, our volunteers have helped carry out evacuation, assessment and mud clearance in Sentani,” ACT coordinator Kusmayadi said in a statement, one day after the disaster occurred.
They also distributed some 1,000 packets of cooked food for the flood victims, and set up an ACT humanitarian command post and a public kitchen in Sentani.
As 94 people were still missing one week after the flooding, the Indonesian Red Cross (PMI) held a coordination meeting to discuss efforts to expedite the handling of the impact of the flooding in the country’s eastern most province.
“This meeting aims to discuss and identify various issues concerning efforts to speed up handling and support for the rescue operations by the PMI during the emergency response period,” Sunarbowo Sandi, head of the PMI Headquarters, noted on March 23, 2019.
Arifin M. Hadi, head of the Disaster Mitigation Division of the PMI, remarked that the Red Cross had optimized services and endeavors during the rescue operations following the emergency response status.
The meeting was attended by representatives of the central and local PMI officers and the International Federation of Red Cross (IFRC), as well as the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC).
Meanwhile, Sutopo Purwo Nugroho, spokesman of the Natural Disaster Mitigation Agency (BNPB), noted in a statement in Jakarta on March 22 that the flooding was triggered by deforestation in the Cycloops area.
“Incessant heavy rains in the Cycloops mountainous area, whose condition had degraded, caused flash floods in Jayapura District and the surrounding areas,” he noted.
The local government in Papua has planned to relocate residents living in the Cycloop nature reserve area in a bid to avoid future flash floods.
Papua’s Governor Lukas Enembe had earlier stated that the residents affected by the natural disasters would be moved to Wamena, Jayapura.
“This plan had been approved by President Joko Widodo. We just have to determine the proper location,” he noted in Jayapura on Thursday.
According to the governor, Papua’s government will discuss building public service facilities, such as hospitals, schools, and housing for the resettled residents.
“This type of disaster has been repeatedly occurring over a period of time, so the residents must be relocated,” he added.
The Environmental Affairs and Forestry Ministry in Jakarta, on March 19, however, denied that the disaster was caused by deforestation.
There was no illegal logging activity in the Sentani areas, according to IB Putera Parthama, the ministry’s Director General for River Basin Management.
There were no logs floating or swept away by flood waters in the area, he added.
“Branches and roots of the floating trees were intact. It shows that the trees were not a result of the illegal logging activity (suspected of having) caused the flash floods,” he told the press.
Sentani located in the Cycloop mountainous area is prone to flash floods and landslides during heavy rain because the area has a steep slope and an unstable river basin, he said, adding that the flooding was triggered by heavy rains that went on incessantly for six hours.
The forest conversion in Sentani was also not significant, as it covered a total area of 495.47 hectares or 3.3 percent during the 2012-2017 period.
“From 2012 to 2017, the forest area converted into non-forest area reached only 3.3 percent. So, it’s not strong enough to associate the disaster with the forest conversion,” he said.
According to the 2018 data, the forest coverage in the river basin area in Sentani was around 55 percent, meaning it was good enough.
The ministry, however, has sent a task force to investigate the cause of the flash floods, he remarked.
The task force is headed by M Saparis Sudaryanto, the ministry’s Director on Planning and Evaluation of River Basin Management
It will collect data and facts about the floods and landslides in Papua to study them for future solutions.
“I will collect facts as accurately as possible,” Sudaryanto said.
The ministry has also set up an information command post to update information on the flooding situation in Sentani.
Indonesia is prone to geological and hydrometeorological disasters. Last year, during the period from January to mid-December, of the 2,427 natural disasters had hit the tropical country, 2,350, or 96.9 percent, were hydrometeorological in nature, such as floods, landslides, and whirlwinds. (*)
MRP traces the chronology of the dismissal of thousands of employees of PT Kodeko Papua
Jayapura, Jubi – The working group for the indigenous issue of Papuan People’s Assembly (MRP) meet with the representatives of PT Kodeko Papua’s ex-workers in Serui, Yapen Islands Regency, Papua on Monday (24/2/2020). In the meeting, the working group take not on the chronology of the dismissal of 1,435 employees of PT Kodeko Papua in 2004.
The working group chairman Demas Tokoro through MRP public relations says the meeting between the working group and workers’ representative occurred on Monday is the second meeting. “Today is our second meeting, while we had the first on 13 February,” he said.
According to him, in the first meeting, the workers’ representatives talked about the severance allowance should be paid to the workers after the termination in 2004. Meanwhile, the second meeting is focusing on learning the chronology of the dismissal.
Tokoro says that during 14 years, 1,435 ex-workers are still waiting for the company to pay their salary and severance allowance. “They tell about their long efforts in fighting their rights as ex-workers,” says Tokoro.
Meanwhile, an ex-worker Costan Podayar said PT Kodeka Papua was a plywood company founded in 1995 and began its operation since 1997.
“In 2002, the situation changed and it claimed bankruptcy in 2004. The employees have been made redundant without receiving severance allowance. As a consequence, the company’s assets become a warrant to pay severance to its ex-workers,” said Pondayar as cited from MRP public relations.
In 2006, the workers sued the management of PT Kodeko Papua to the Tangerang District Court with a demand that the company must pay the salary and severance allowance of 1,435 ex-workers. “The Court won our lawsuit in 2006,” said Pondayar.
At that time, he says that the Court instruct those who took over the assets of PT Kodeko Papua must pay the rights of ex-workers. But, in reality, PT Sinar Wijaya who continue the operation has not paid the severance allowance to the ex-workers.
“As the ex-workers, we did not know how can PT Sinar Wijaya take over the operation because there was no announcement to us,” says Pondayar.
PT Sinar Wijaya has paid the amount of money to the ex-workers, but the payment was less than the amount that the ex-workers should receive.
“The local government has facilitated the meeting between us and the management of PT Sinar Wijaya at Kampung Awunawai Office. They paid the amount of money for us but did not give us time to read the letter that we should sign. They said it was because there were many employees in queueing to sign,” said Pondayar.
Later on, the ex-workers realised that the amount of money they received is smaller than it should. “The Court’s decision said that I had to receive IDR 32 million, but I only received IDR 15 million,” says Pondayar.
Meanwhile, Demas Tokoro said his working group would implement the mechanism by MRP to bring both representatives of ex-workers PT Kodeko Papua with the local government and the management of PT Sinar Wijaya. The working groups of women and religious issues of MRP will also attend this meeting.
“We will conduct a joint visit consisting of MRP, indigenous, religious and women’s working groups. We hope people will support us,” says Tokoro. (*)
Reporter: Benny Mawel
Editor: Pipit Maizier
Government introduces Papua’s business potential to 45 investors
Sorong, Jubi – The Indonesian government in association with Yayasan Inisiatif Dagang Hijau (Green Trade Initiative Foundation) took a total of 45 foreign investors to witness firsthand the business potential in the country’s eastern provinces of Papua and West Papua.
The foreign investors met with young businessmen from Papua during a high-level meeting on green investment in Sorong, West Papua, on Thursday.
Also present at the meeting were Coordinating Minister for Maritime Affairs and Investment, Luhut Binsar Panjaitan; Agriculture Minister Syahrul Yasin Limpo; Head of the Investment Coordinating Board, Bahlil Lahadalia, and Vice Minister of Tourism and Creative Economy, Angela Tanoesoedibjo, to support the Papuan businessmen to move forward.
Panjaitan said the concept of green investment or environmentally friendly investment is one of the models of sustainable development in the provinces of Papua and West Papua.
The concept of green investment is aimed at encouraging small-scale investment to promote the agricultural and fisheries sectors in the two provinces, he said.
The presence of foreign investors will encourage the export of agricultural and fishery commodities including nutmeg, cacao beans, seaweed, and other key commodities from the two provinces, he said.
The minister further asked the Papua and West Papua provincial governments to work hard and cooperate with all sectors to develop the potential in the province as part of efforts to promote the economy of the locals. (*)
Papua High Prosecutors Office investigates corruption allegation in Bank Papua
Jayapura, Friday – Papua High Prosecutors Office and Nabire District Prosecutors Office are currently investigating corruption allegation in Bank Papua Branch Paniai in Enarotali, the capital of Paniai Regency, Papua. This allegation associated with the prior case of loan distribution of IDR 281 billion for creditors.
This investigation was confirmed by the Assistant of Special Crime of the Papua High Prosecutors Office Alexander Sinuraya to Antara News Agency in Jayapura on Friday (31/1/2020).
“This case is currently under the investigation of Nabire District Prosecutors Office who in charge for Paniai Regency and prosecutors from Papua High Prosecutors Office will assist the investigation,” he said.
According to him, so far there is no suspect named in this allegation. “Hopefully the investigation becomes more in-depth shortly,” he said.
Separately, the Business Director of Bank Papua Sadar Sebayang admits the bad loan case of IDR 281 billion in Bank Papua.
“The case that happened in 2016 is currently under the investigation of Papua High Prosecutors Office,” Sebayang confirmed.
According to him, Bank Papua had penalised the employees involved in this case, including dismissal. Sebayang also said that non-performing loan creditors had paid their instalments up to IDR 185 billion including bank interest. However, he said Bank Papua is supportive of this legal conduct by these two prosecutors offices.
“BPD Papua fully supports the current legal process conducted by Papua High Prosecutors Office,” said Sebayang. (*)
Reporter: Aryo Wisanggeni G
Editor: Pipit Maizier
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