Tracing the flooding trail in Kali Kemiri, Sentani – West Papua No.1 News Portal
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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.”

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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

Locals allege cement factory to cause dusty air pollution

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A resident lives near Maruni cement factory shows his soles of feet, merchandises and furniture covered by the black dust. – Jubi/Personal Doc.

Manokwari, Jubi – Residents of Dobut Village and other surrounding villages in Manokwari Selatan sub-district feel anxious concerning black dust scattered by the wind to their villages. They allege Maruni cement factory to cause this dusty air pollution.

The Village Chief of Dobut Septinus Aibu said hundreds of residents complained to have respiratory problems. Besides inhaling polluted air, the black dust now covers the roof of houses, get in the homes and pollutes everything inside.

“We have respiratory problems. It’s hard to breathe. There is thick dark haze during the day though it’s only the dust blown by the wind,” Septinus Aibu told Jubi in Manokwari on Wednesday (27/11/2019).

He further admitted to reporting his incident to the Provincial Environment and Land Office of West Papua. He hopes this relevant office will promptly follow up this report. However, his response has not yet responded, said Aibu.

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“I have met the official from the Provincial Environment Office, but I found no definitive answer,” he said.

In the meantime, a resident Slamet who lives in a location near Maruni cement factory also has a similar complaint. He said kiosks and food stalls along the road where the cement factory built fully covered of black dust. “Stalls and everything inside fills with dust; even it covers the floor of houses. It’s all full of black dust,” said Slamet.

In responding to this issue, Derek Ampnir, the Head of West Papua Provincial Disaster Management Agency (BPBD), confirmed Jubi by a short message on Wednesday that the agency will immediately address the alleged air pollution. “Where is the location? Okay, we’ll take action,” texted Ampnir.

The black dust incident that allegedly comes out from the manufacturing activity of Maruni cement factory has been viral on social media, including some photographs, showed the black dust. However, until the news is published, both representatives of the cement factory and local government official do not give any comments on this issue. (*)

 

Reporter: Hans Kapisa

Editor: Pipit Maizier

 

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Economy

Anticipating toxic spills in Papua New Guinea, DKP monitors fishermen’s catches at Hamadi fish landing

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Map of Papua Island showing the location of sea waters in Basamuk, Madang, Papua New Guinea. – Google Maps

Jayapura, Jubi – The Office of Fisheries and Maritime Affairs (DKP) of Jayapura Municipality continues to monitor local fishermen’s catches at Hamadi fish landing following the toxic spills in Madang, Papua New Guinea. Municipal DKP took a few samples of fish to a laboratory for further research whether the incident would impact to the local catchment or fishing ground areas.

The Head of Jayapura Municipal DKP Martheys Sibi said by Monday, his office is still waiting for a clarification from the Indonesian Ministry of Maritime and Fisheries (KKP-RI). “But, based on our observations, so far [the condition of] Hamadi Fish Landing (PPI Hamadi) runs as usual. Fishing activities at the local fishing ground by local fishermen have not yet had a significant impact,” he told Jubi when asked for confirmation via WhatsApp on Monday (18/11/2018).

Sibi further said by Monday the local fishermen continue to bring their catches to sell in PPI Hamadi and such fishes look normal. “However, we will continue to monitor the impact of nickel waste (on fish and catchment areas) while waiting for a follow-up from KKP-RI in Jakarta,” said Sibi.

Moreover, he said the fish monitoring in PPI Hamadi would keep running while awaiting the result from the laboratory. “If there would be a complaint from fishermen (about their catches), such fish would be taken to the laboratory for testing. We have communicated with the Fish Quarantine and Quality Analysis Centre of KKP in Sentani, Papua, to examine a few samples of fish from fishermen,” he said.

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Earlier, the sea waters in Basamuk, Madang, Papua New Guinea has reportedly been contaminated by waste spills from China-owned nickel mining company. A report published by Dr Alex Mojon said pollution from Chinese-owned Nickel Ramu has caused fish to die around Madang sea. (*)

 

Reporter: Sindung Sukoco

Editor: Pipit Maizier

 

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Environment

WWF conduct community forest management training

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A facilitator from the Papua Provincial Forestry Office during a presentation. – Jubi / David Sobolim

Jayapura, Jubi – The World Wide Fund for Nature or WWF-Indonesia conducted training for indigenous people to manage their customary forests.

The training was a response to illegal logging occurred in Papua as well as illegal timber companies who take benefits on timber sales in Papua by purchasing wood at a low price then selling in in the market with the higher price.

To address this issue, WWF-Indonesia held a specific training on wood harvesting planning technique using the Reduced Impact Logging (RIL) method on Tuesday, 13 August 2019, in Jayapura. Participated in the training were indigenous people holding a Business License for the Utilization of Indigenous Forest Timber Products (IUPHHKA-MA) whom members of Koperasi Serba Usaha (KSU-a cooperative).

Piter Roki Aloisius, the Northern Papua Landscape Manager of WWF-Indonesia, told Jubi that WWF involved seven groups of the provincial legal timber business permits holders who are accompanied by WWF in this training.

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“There are 13 groups, but not all working due to the implementation of Governor Regulation No. 13 on the Business Permit for the Utilization of Customary Community Timber Forest Product. Also, there is no synchronization between the provincial government and the central government related to the Forestry Law Number 41 of 2019 with Perdasus (special regional law) Number 21 of 2010 in Papua Province, “he said.

The seven KSUs and an ecotourism business group of WWF’s fostering groups are located in various regencies. They are KSU Mo Make Unaf from Merauke, KSU Jibogol from Jayapura, KSU Nafa from Nabire, KSU Kumea Ampas from Keerom, KSU Sapusaniye from Sarmi, and KSU Kornu and KSU Year Asai from Yapen Island Kepulauan Yapen, with the total of concession area of 33,691 hectares, whereas the ecotourism group Rhepang Muaif is located in Nimbonkrang Sub-district of Jayapura Regency.

So far, no coordination was made regarding the issuance of NSPK. However, while waiting for the issuance of NSPK, Aloysius said that WWF is responsible for fostering the established group by providing technical assistance.

“So, these groups will understand why they cannot carry out activities until now. However, by the time they got their NSPK, they will ready to manage their forests independently in sustainably and responsibly manners. Also, after this training they will understand how to manage the timber and forest products properly by reducing the impacts of its utilization,” he said.

He also explained that so far indigenous Papuans were not visibly utilizing their forest products. However, he believes that through a series of training and mentoring, indigenous people can take an initiative to carry out customary forest management.

“In Papua, if indigenous people process can process their timber by themselves, their daily income will higher,” he said.

According to him, the local community sell woods from the customary forest at the price ranging of Rp 300 thousand per tree, but a businessman sells the wood to the city market at a higher price. So, the local community loses twice because of this businessman.

“Community empowerment to improve the welfare of indigenous peoples is not only the responsibility of NGOs but also the government,” he said.

Meanwhile, Andreas Simoberef from KSU Tetom Jaya in Sarmi Regency said after being accompanied by WWF, he had opened a furniture industry. The income from this industrial business is higher than selling wood at a low price and the forest is being damaged, while it needs decades to growing trees.

He just opened this business for a year and found enthusiastic demand. Therefore, he is unable to serve all orders in a month. “This is a sign that indigenous peoples should not sell the wood. If indigenous peoples carry the timber management by themselves, they earn more income,” he said. (*)


Reporter: David Sobolim
Editor: Maizier Pipit

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