Wamena, Jubi – Fuel shortages including gasoline, diesel and kerosene and high prices of basic commodities in Jayawijaya have sparked a public protest in Papua Highlands.
Motorcycle taxi drivers and supporters held rally in front of the local parliament office on Monday (2/11/2015), urging the local parliament and Jayawijaya Regional Government to stabilize the ‘choking’ prices that have lasted for few last days.
The Coordinator of Protest, Muli Wetipo, said the shortages of fuel and basic commodities often occur in Jayawijaya since 2002. He thought this increase was allegedly connected with the interest of the political elites and business providers.
“Since 2002 the shortages and price increases on fuel and basic commodities are always occurred, what is actually happening? Why does the government always not have any solution?” he said. Further he said it makes the people suffered. Just imagine, now gasoline is sold for Rp 50 to 80 thousand per litter. He also asked the government to abolish the coupon system for subsidized fuel because it is considered as mafia practice of fuel market.
“The government needs to review and reduce the price of non-subsidized fuel or fuel for industry use. It also must reduce the price off basic commodities and adjust quota for fuel. The government should give free access of permits to the airlines to be operated in Jayawijaya. He also urged the government and local parliament to provide free access to the non-subsidized or industry-use fuel suppliers,” he said.
In the protest, the airlines representatives and the Head of Jayawijaya Trade, Industry and Cooperation Office has given time to answer the people’s aspiration. But, a protester said there is confusion about the quota of subsidized fuel, which is the Head of Trade, Industry and Cooperation Office, said the quota of subsidized fuel for Jayawijaya is 680,000 litter per month. It’s different with the statement of his deputy and the Head of Trade Department. “Whose statements are true? Whether those are from different office?” said a protester.
They also urged the local parliament to facilitate a meeting with all parties to discuss about the shortages and high prices in Jayawijaya. The Head of Jayawijaya Regional Council, Taufik Petrus Latuihamallo explained the parliament is currently tracking this case. The parliament also ready to accommodate the meeting to discuss about the current situation. Within a or few days the parliament will invited the representatives of Trade, Industry and Cooperation Office and airlines for prices calculation.
“We are prepared, but give us times to get the price calculation that currently considered as burden by people,” he said. (Islami/rom)
Accelerating rescue operations in flood-hit Sentani
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. (*)
Papua death toll rises, more than 6000 evacuated after Sentani floods
Papua, Jubi – The death toll from flash floods in Indonesia’s Papua region has risen to 89.
The aftermath of deadly flash flooding in Sentani, Papua, 17 March 2019.
Over 6000 people have been evacuated from flooded villages after days of heavy rain.
The worst affected parts are in and around Jayapura and villages near Lake Sentani which overflowed, spilling large volumes of water through surrounding areas.
Indonesia’s National Disaster Management Agency earlier said over 70 people were killed by landslides in Jayapura regency and others died from floods in Jayapura city.
Along with the dead, 74 others are missing and 159 people have been injured.
More than 11,000 families have been affected by the flash flooding.
People are frightened and some are blaming climate change according to Derek Windessy from Indonesia’s Red Cross.
“Because it is still raining, raining and raining again. Last night still raining and some rivers throw up and flood through in the villages, so it’s hard,” he said.
“Almost three days or four days. People cannot sleep well. And then they scare. So they need to move to the safety place now,” said Derek Windessy.
There are evacuation centres in six locations.
However, finding survivors is the focus for local government, said Mr Windessy, and supplying food and water to evacuees.
He said President Joko Widodo is likely to visit the area tomorrow and denied reports some agencies may have been blocked or prevented from providing aid to those in need.
Mass evacuations and reforestation ordered
Indonesia’s president Joko Widodo has called for the re-planting of forests around the upper reaches of the river which empties into Lake Sentani, which has risen and flooded surrounding villages.
Indonesia’s disaster management agency has attributed the floods to deforestation and encroachment on a nature reserve in the Cyclops Mountains over the past 15 years.
The head of Indonesia’s National Disaster Mitigation Agency Doni Monardo has blamed the disaster on deforestation for construction, on steep terrain and the intense rainfall.
He said there is no need for people to cut down trees to improve the economy.
A spokesperson, quoted by Indonesia’s Tempo news agency, said the flooding was triggered by extreme rainfall and forest damage.
A month’s worth of normal rain fell in the space of seven hours at the weekend.
More than 2000 hectares of rain catchment area has been cleared for development, the spokesman said.
Dobonsolo, Doyo Baru, and Hinekombe districts in Jayapura’s Sentani region are reported to be the worst affected.
Medical services and public kitchens are treating and supporting the injured and displaced victims.
Local government and the police are clearing away logs, rocks, debris and other materials with heavy equipment.
Seventy kilometres of roads in the Jayapura, Sentani and Kemiri area are covered with mud and fallen trees.
Disaster authorities say hundreds of houses are damaged and some are submerged.
A number of public facilities are also severely damaged including eight schools, three churches and three bridges.
Clean water, food needed after flooding in Papua
Meanwhile, clean water, food and blankets are among pressing needs in the flood affected areas.
At least 68 people had died after heavy rain at the weekend triggered floods and landslides around the provincial capital Jayapura.
Rosemarie North of the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies said teams had been going out to assess the needs of displaced people and deliver emergency help.
She said medical care, sleeping mats, and hygiene items like soap, towels and toothbrushes are also needed.
She said, Lake Sentani which is 20 kilometres from Jayapura had risen flooding surrounding villages.
The Red Cross said it was a worrying situation for people around the lake and in many other areas because the rain is still falling. (*)
Sacked Freeport workers camp out opposite State Palace
Jakarta, Jubi – For exactly four days scores of former PT Freeport Indonesia employees have been camped out opposite the State Palace in Central Jakarta. Sleeping under tents made from tarpaulin, the employees who were sacked by the Freeport gold-and-copper mine in 2017 are sleeping over with whatever equipment they have available.
One of the former employees, Jerry Yerangga, admitted that he had intentionally chosen to stay overnight opposite the Palace along with his colleagues so that they could meet with President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo.
“We are calling in [his] promise because we have already met with a majority of senior state officials. We feel that we have not obtained justice because of being sacked by Freeport”, said Yerangga when speaking with CNN Indonesia on Saturday February 9.
Yerangga said that the dismissals began during the polemic over the divestment of Freeport shares to the Indonesian government prior to an agreement being reach in late 2018.
The former Freeport dump truck operator said that Freeport sacked around 8,300 employees. “They felt they had suffered financial losses because of problems over the share divestment with the government at the time”, he said.
Yerangga said that they have already held a number of actions in Papua however their protests have been opposed by security forces. In July last year he and his colleagues finally decided to take a ship to Jakarta to continue their protests.
In August 2018 Yerangga managed to meet with Chief of Presidential Staff Moeldoko to convey their complaints. At the time, Moeldoko pledged to immediately follow up on their complaints.
“But to this day there has been no clarity, the only parties which have been able to respond to our problem were the Ombudsman and Komnas HAM [National Human Rights Commission]”, said Yerangga.
In the end, Yerangga decided to camp out in tents in order to find a quick resolution to the problem. Over the last four days, he and 50 other colleagues have slept under tents.
They have been bathing at public toilets at the National Monument (Monas) in front of the State Palace. He is grateful because government officials and police have not prohibited the protest.
“We are grateful because here official have allowed [the protest]. We can freely convey our wishes here”, he said.
Yerangga hopes that the government will immediately follow up on their complaints although he does not know how long they will have to keep living under the tents.
“Until we get a response. Have pity on our children who can’t go to school, [or those] who have had to sell their homes to cover daily living costs”, said Yerangga.
Freeport spokesperson Riza Pratama said earlier that the thousands of former employees had been deemed to have resigned because they were absent from work.
“We followed procedures, summoned them. There as a total of around 3,500 [employees] who went on strike and failed to meet their obligations. Then, there were around 200 of them who obeyed our summons, the rest didn’t. So we deemed that they had resigned. In accordance with regulations, they were given one month’s wages [severance pay] which was transferred to their individual accounts”, said Pratama in March 2018.
The dispute with the employees however was not resolved there. It was only on December 21, 2017 that the company, the trade union and former employees, witnessed by related parties from the Ministry of Labour, were offered a new solution. (*)
Source: CNN Indonesia, translated by James Balowski, pmc.aut.ac.nz
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