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Tracing the flooding trail in Kali Kemiri, Sentani

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Stenly Monim and his dog are among the ruin of his parent’s house which is only the foundation left and covered by stones. -Jubi/Kristianto Galuwo

A HOUND, totally wet, are walking around, scrapping over damp branches lying on the ground. Thirsty, it moves to a puddle for a sip of water. Doesn’t know what to do, it turns to sniff piles of stumps that just tumbled from trees. This little dog is surrounding by hundreds of logs, which some begin to decay, piles of stones that left over from a massive flood that stroked the most of Sentani City on Saturday night (16/3/19).

Running, it follows its master, Stenly Monim (31 years old). “Her name is Moli, quite old now. She has lived with us for ten years,” he told Jubi on Thursday (21/3/19) at Kali Kemiri, Hinekombe Village, Sentani Sub-district, Jayapura Regency, Papua Province.

Stenly survived from the flood. The place he used to live in the intersection of Kali Kemiri (a river’s name) now looks like a shadowy island of the size of a mini soccer field with some trees left. He met Moli on Wednesday (20/3/2019) midday when he was walking through the riverbank. “I was surprised and excited because I thought Moli is dead.”

When first met, said Stenly, Moli was exciting. She run and jumped to him, circled him around and licked his hand and woofed. She has some scratches on her back hit by the flood that similar to Stenly’s back.

After five minutes walking along the location that used to drain by the water from Kali Kemiri, he stops in front of the ruin of his house with Moli who’s still around him. He admits this is the first time he returns home after the flood hit this place.

Before visiting this place, he left his eleven years old daughter Risyelita Monim to his relative whose home is not far from his house. “This is my house. I am usually just watching from distant. I tell my daughter to not come here because she might still be traumatised. She is the only child I have who still alive now.”

Stenly couldn’t save her second daughter’s life. Martina Marice Monim (9 years) died and had just been buried on Wednesday (20/3/2019) at Kampung Sereh, while his youngest son Alberto Monim (1) is still missing.

“We just celebrated Alberto’s first birthday on last 7 March,” he said.

Meanwhile, his wife Lara Merlin (25) survived because she was visiting her relative at Ifar Gunung. Currently, Stenly and the rest of his family stay at his relative’s house.

A premonition being late interpreted

At that tragic night, Stenly was anxious because of the heavy rain lasted until the dark. He continuously went to the riverbank observing the stream. An hour later, the water massively flew till it eroded the edge of the ‘island’ where five houses stood.

Usually, Stenly said, no matter how heavy the rain was, it never creates such stream like that night.

“But, that night was strange. Our location is quite high, but the water filled it very fast. I never thought it could have happened. I took my children immediately to my parent’s house where my mother, siblings and other families live. Its location is higher than ours.

Stenly’s house is in the middle. When water and sandy mud flooded this area, he informed his two neighbours. Then, together they went to his parent’s house. He also asked the neighbour next to his parent’s house to join. “ Around twenty people were gathering at that night, plus my siblings and their children.”

Suddenly, we heard a crash, said Stenly, but we couldn’t go anywhere. The river has overflowed, and water covered the two sides of the banks. No bridge to cross over.

Then, we heard something heavy bumped on something. The water volume was very high, and we were all scattered,” said Stenly.

According to him, the flood just swept everything away once. But logs and stones continued rolling and scrolling pushed by the current. He slumped into the piles of logs which eventually became a shield for him.

He shouted calling the names of his children and relatives. Suddenly, he heard the voice of his older daughter Risyelita. He tried to get out of the logs and searched for his daughter.

Lita plays around her house with Moli. -Jubi/Kristianto Galuwo

“I found Lita was not far from me. She held a log. I immediately grabbed her and held her tight while holding on the branch.”

Pulling up his energy, he bumped against the stream while holding his daughter and trying to find his other children who separated from him. But he couldn’t get them.

After swimming dozens of meters to save his daughter’s life, three men who were running on the other side of the river saw him. They stopped and pulled him two fallen areca palms before going away.

“I told my daughter, ‘Hold my back tight. I’ll cross the river with this areca tree’. At first, she said she was afraid. But, I said, ‘I will save you. You must be brave’.”

When he tried to across her daughter while holding the areca tree, the current hit them. They fell over and drifted away. But they almost close to the bank. When he could stand on the ground, he runs along the riverbank screaming his daughter’s name.

“Up to hundreds of meters I run. From the other side, I saw Lita managed to reach the edge of the river,” he said.

When he’s telling this story, from a distance faintly heard Lita’s voice calling her father. The girl ran passing through the sandy mud and come closer to Stenly, who looks resigned. He calls his daughter. He said no word to order his daughter to leave this place. Instead, he greets her, now his only child whom he can embrace alive.

Grief after a disaster

Stenly’s second daughter, Martina, was found in a position embraced by her aunt on Sunday morning (3/17/2019), both of them dead.

“The rescue team came at around one o’clock in the evening. Their body found in the early morning. They were not far away from me that night when I was under a pile of wood. But I didn’t see them or hear their voice,” he said.

Meanwhile, His son, Alberto, reportedly washed away to Gajah Mada BTN. He obtained this information from his cousin who survived and is treated currently at Abepura Hospital, Jayapura City.

“My cousin, Rina Sokoy, held Alberto and they drifted to BTN Gajah Mada. It’s about two kilometres away from here. But, Alberto was detached when a log hit Rina. I hope someone can find him alive. I miss him, and I keep praying,” he said.

According to Stenly, his relatives and three neighbours also experience the same story. They lost several family members. Some are dead, while others are declared missing. But, there are those who survived and now treated in the hospital due to injuries and broken bones.

To get detail information about the number of residents living in Kali Kemiri, Jubi met the chief of neighbourhood (RW 7) Andreas Hikoyabi (44 years old). He said around 700 people living on the banks of Kali Kemiri.

“About more than two dozen bodies have been found. Six of them have been picked up by the family at Bhayangkara Hospital. Yesterday, the rescue team carried sniffer dogs to search another body here,” he said while monitoring the work of the Joint Search and Rescue Team on the riverbanks of Kali Kemiri on Thursday (03/21/2019).

Residents suspect that there are bodies that still buried under the mud because of flies flying on the scene. Then, Andreas points out to the ruins of the house covered by thick mud which the rescue team tried to exavagate.

“In that house, there are seven family members. The couple and their three children have not found yet, while two children safely found.”

A member of Jayapura SAR Team, Sangap S (35) said the team keep searching for victims in Kali Kemiri because it’s a location that most influenced by the flood. However, until late afternoon, the rescue team still find no casualties.

“First, we found a dead dog up there, but we didn’t bury it. After that, we went down, and smell a stinky odour. We thought there are bodies. We started to dig but found nothing. So, we buried the dog, and the smell disappeared. It turns out that the smell was coming from the dog body that blew by the wind,” he said. (*)

 

Reporter: Kristianto Galuwo

Editor: Pipit Maizier

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Environment

Activists protest the conservation award to Governor Mandacan

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West Papua Governor Dominggus Mandacan received the International Conservation awards from Conservation International-Jubi/IST

Manokwari, Jubi – The award of Global Conservation Hero to the West Papua Governor Dominggus Mandacan by Conservation International in Los Angeles to appreciate the efforts of Provincial Government of West Papua in protecting and implementing sustainable development has drawn a protest from local conservationist and environmental activists.

The activists argue that the government has not been eligible to receive the award because of no integrated database record the forest, ocean and indigenous resources to use as a barometer of the success of the conservation or sustainable development program in West Papua Province.

Although the ICBE Forum 2018 resulted in an agreement named “Manokwari Declaration” that has 14 commitments, in reality, it does not reach people on the ground.

Yohanis Akwan, the Coordinator of Pantau Gambut Papua in Manokwari, states the Global Conservation Award to Governor Dominggus Mandacan was so premature and allegedly full of interests. Since the declaration of West Papua Province as the conservation-based province by the former Governor Abraham Oktavianus Atururi in 2015, no real effort yet been realised by the provincial government to protect the natural resources of Papua Barat.

Further, Akwan suggests that the award should present to people living in remote or coastal areas who are faithful protecting the forest and the sea with their local wisdom and traditional values. Also, he said West Papua Province even does not have a peatland map that can be used to review relevant permits, while the peatland is an indicator of the conservation-based province. He also asses that there are more unfinished plan to be done by Papua Barat concerning to conservation-based province. That is a reality.

“Unfortunately, the United States, Conservation International is too quick to present this award to the governor, while the forest and natural resources in this province continue to be in hand of giant investors. This award should not present to the government official, but villagers who traditionally protect their natural resources from time to time,” Akwan told Jubi in Manokwari.

Moreover, he points out a problem recently faced by Manowakri residents, namely a seasonal food disaster during rain as a result of a forest clearing in Wosi-Rendani area for human settlement and mismanagement of spatial plan for housings.

“Last Monday, dozens of houses in Petrus Kafiar Village of Manokwari Timur District were flooded. People forced to evacuate, while the government acts to pay attention from the international community,” said Akwan.

The head of the Provincial Public Relations and Protocol of West Papua Yohanes Nauw on behalf of the Governor Dominggus Mandacan says in the press conference that the award presented in a gala dinner organised by Conservation International in Los Angeles, the United States on Saturday (8/6/2019).

The head of provincial parliament has reportedly joined the governor because the parliament contributed to authorise the special regulation on Sustainable Development that represents the principles of environmentally friendly development.

“Through the special regulation, West Papua has been named as ‘conservation-based province’ in which 70% of its forest area and ecosystem will be protected and managed sustainably. This regulation also called the Manokwari Declaration,” explained Nauw.

Meanwhile, the Head of the Provincial Research and Development Agency of West Papua Government as a specialised agency who launched the agenda, Prof. Charlie D Heatubun, said that Governor Dominggus Mandacan has involved promoting the adoption of the regulation on Sustainable Development.

“This award is also to appreciate the leadership and commitment of the governor in promoting the enactment of the special regulation and reviewing other policies such as the Provincial Spatial Plan, the Provincial Medium-Term Development Plan, protected areas expansion and the preparation of the Provincial Master Plan and the Roadmap of Green and Blue Economic Development,” he said.

Furthermore, Heatubun said the visit of Papua Barat officials to Los Angeles, the United States, was to respond to the official invitation of the President of Conservation International. The event also attended by some CEOs of large companies who interested in investing in Papua Barat such as Mars, Unilever, and the Governor of California and Los Angeles Mayor. (*)

Reporter: Hans Kapisa
Editor: Pipit Maizier

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Economy

CSOs decline logging company in Wondama

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Administrative map of Teluk Wondama Regency. – Jubi/manokwari.bpk.go.id

Jayapura, Jubi – Some Papua’s CSOs namely LP3BH Manokwari, YALI Papua, Yayasan Pusaka and Pemuda Suku Mairasi urge the Minister of Environment and Foresty to review the operation permit of a logging company PT Kurniatama Sejahtera (KTS) in Mairasi area.

The Mairasi tribal communities from Undurara, Wosimo and Inyora villages sent a statement letter stated on 12 May 2019 to oppose PT KTS to operate in Mairasi.

“People feel uneasy and disturbed due to the presence of the company and the military. It creates unsecured, disharmony and has no guarantee of providing economic benefit to the community,” Agust Veth from Pemuda Suku Mairasi told Jubi by phone on Sunday, 9 June 2019 in Jayapura.

According to Veth, people have not forgotten the incident of Bloody Wasior (2001) that allegedly triggered by logging activity from the timber company Darma Mukti Persana. Further, he said the human rights violation case in Wasior has not settled since then.

“Now, the military along with some public leaders represent the LMA (Customary Council) who facilitate the meeting on ‘Social Communication’ allegedly want to intimidate and force the local community to approve the logging company to operate in Mairasi. However, the local community continue to decline the company and refuse to attend the meeting.”

Mairasi people have objected the timber activity of KTS since 2012, while in 2013, a military culprit based in KTS logging area in Sorong allegedly tortured three residents from Sararti and Ambuni villages. The incident then reported to the local government, the People’s Assembly of Papua Barat and the Minister of Forestry. No action towards both perpetrator and the company has yet taken.

“Some reports revealed that PT KTS had some internal and financial issues. The company cannot pay the IUPHHK-HA (licence for utilization of timber in natural forest) and has a deficit (source: www.nasional.kontan.co.id, 2010; PT. Inti Multima Sertifikasi, 2015),” added Vest.

The logging company PT Kurniatama Sejahtera obtained the IUPHHK-HA from the Minister of Forestry (now the Minister of Environment and Forestry) Nomor SK.648/Menhut-II/2009 on 15 October 2009 to permit it to operate in a concession area of 115.800 hectares located in Teluk Wondama Regency. PT KSP is a subsidiary company of Artha Graha Group operating in Teluk Wondama Regency.

Concerning the permit, the civil society organisations ask the Minister of Environment and Forestry to evaluate the permit of PT KSP and give penalties for their negligence.

“We also ask the Military Commander of XVIII Kasuari to urge the Military District Command Sector Wasior and other local military authorities to stop using the military approach and intimidation towards the local community and backing up the interest of PT KTS.”

“They should prioritise respect, protection and fulfilment on human rights and environment, especially the basic rights of Mairasi Tribe. Most importantly, they must prevent the reoccurrence of the same conflict. Therefore, the law enforcement and legal protection of Mairasi Tribe are in need.”

However, the Ministry of Environment and Forestry, Military Command of Kasuari and PT KTS have not confirmed this information. On the other hand, Konstan Natama, the Acting Sub-district Chief of Naikere, Teluk Wondama Regency told Antara on 18 January 2018 that he was concerned about the massive logging activity by PT KTS clearing out the ironwood trees in Naikere.

Meanwhile, Franky Sanperante from Yayasan Pusaka said another subsidiary company of Artha Graha Network is PT Papua Satya Kencana with IUPHHK-HA license No SK.647/Menhut-II/2009. It has a concession area of 195.420 hectares located in Teluk Bintuni Regency.

“Combined, the total concession of the two companies is about 79% of the total area of Teluk Wondama Regency (3,960 Km2) or fivefold of the area of Jakarta,” said Frangky.

In the report published by Research and Development Centre of Department of Health of the Republic Indonesia “Merindukan Hidup Sehat Orama Etnik Mairasi Kabupaten Teluk Bintuni, 2014”, it mentioned that trees with a diameter of one meter such as ironwood and mahogany found in that area.

In Naikere, PT KTS has cleared out the trees since 1990 and stopped the operation at the time of Wasior incident (2001). Timber trucks carried one or two logs of wood with a diameter of one or two meters three or four times a day at that time. (*)

Reporter: Timoteus Marten
Editor: Pipit Maizier

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Environment

Islands in West Papua to ban plastic bags

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The announcement of the plastic bag ban in West PapuaThe announcement of the plastic bag ban in West Papua Photo: Facebook/ Humas Pro_Biak

Papua, Jubi – A group of islands in Indonesia’s West Papua is set to ban the use of plastic bags.

Biak Numfor, home to more than 150,000 people, is the latest in a series of Indonesian regencies to cut down on plastics.

The head of the local environment authority, Iwan Ismulyanto, said the ban will be effective from 1 June.

Biak Numfor last week hosted meetings with locals and businesses to discuss the move. (*)

 

Source: RNZI

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