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. (*)
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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