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

The way Papuansphoto Community calls to protect Cycloop

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A performance held in the environmental action by Papuansphoto Community on Saturday (8/2/2020). – Jubi/Dok. Whens Tebay

Jayapura, Jubi – Papuan youth from Papuansphoto Community held an environmental action to protect the buffer zone of the Cycloop mountains where precisely located at the rectorate of the University of Cenderawasih.
Around 50 participants joined in the event held on Saturday (8/2/2020) in Waena, Heram Sub-district, Jayapura City. They planted trees and took photos of the natural surroundings.

The Papuansphoto General Chairman Whens Tebay told Jubi on Sunday (9/2/2020) that this action was to demonstrate their concern for the Cycloop area.

“Our concept of photography is to save the forest and humans. So, it was two activities in one event. We planted 50 various tree seedlings,” said Tebay.

The various tree seedlings which brought from the Papua Provincial Forestry Office are the banyan, pine, acacia and weki.

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“This is the first event in 2020. There would be more events such as training or workshop on photography to be held in Jayapura,” he said.

Furthermore, Tebay who obtained his bachelor degree from the International Relations of Science and Technology University of Jayapura (USTJ) warned the city and suburb residents of Jayapura to protect their environment, especially Cycloop Mountains as a water source for dwellers living in both areas.

Earlier, Tebay said Papuansphoto had conducted a similar project titled “Save Water, Forest and the Land” on 1 February 2019. At that time, the community worked with native Papuans and Elenggen Art studio.

In the meantime, Gamel from Rumah Bakau Community thinks the concept of event held by Papuansphoto was creatively interesting because they were not only planting trees but turning such activity to be the artwork of photography.

According to him, for those who do not really like reading, have little interest in literacy, the photography at least can bring the actual pictures contained environmental messages.

“While our community has started the environmental action since 1 January 2020 by collecting rubbish leftover from the New Year’s Eve and run some ‘goes-to-school’ events related to environmental issues. The motivation of young people must always be maintained and never stop to try,” he said.

Jayapura City is located in the Cycloop mountainous area and often hit by floods and landslides during the rainy season. It is also said the water flow rate in the Cycloop buffer zone continuously declined.

While, on the other hand, waste and rubbish scatter everywhere and deforestation by irresponsible people has been continuously happening. As a result, the water surface at Kampwolker River, for example, has gradually dropped.

Meanwhile, a Waena resident Yustinus said locals recently are struggling to get water due lacking water supplies from Water Service Company (PDAM).

In Perumnas 2 (Waena), PDAM water supplies not operated for three days. Residents must buy some water at the nearest water depot for daily consumption, such as for washing and cooking.

“In the past, water from PDAM was available for 24 hours. Now, it changes drastically,” he said. Therefore, he asks everyone to protect the Cycloop area as the water source area. (*)

 

Reporter: Timoteus Marten

Editor: Pipit Maizier

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Raja Ampat Government accused to violate tenure rights over two years of land occupation

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A rally held by the community of AMAN (the Indigenous Peoples’ Alliance of the Archipelago) in Raja Ampat Regional House of Representative. – Jubi/SPC

Sentani, Jubi – The landowner of 3 hectares of the customary land asks the local government of Raja Ampat to return the land and pay the rent for two-years occupation.

The local government was permitted to use the land for two years, from 2004 to 2006, based on the mutual agreement. However, when the landowner asked the local government to return it and pay the rent, it found out the land was registered as an asset of the local government since 2007.

Following the land dispute, the customary people then brought the case to court. Here the statement declared by their legal counsel Haris Azhar from Lokataru, the Law and Human Rights Office to Jubi via WhatsApp on Tuesday (4/2/2020).

“The Local Government of Raja Ampat deprived the tenure land rights of indigenous Raja Ampat arbitrary. Therefore, Lokataru, the Law and Human Rights Office, as their legal counsel, condemns the land occupation by the local government over the tenure land owned by Hj. Salim family. The land is located in Waisai, Raja Ampat Regency. We found some facts showing the practice of deprivation over this land,” said Haris Azhar.

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First, the regional government of Raja Ampat has occupied the land borrowed from the customary landowner for more than two years. It violated the two years agreement, namely from 2004 to 2006. The local government never returned the land to the customary landowner until today.

Second, the Raja Ampat government deprived the land by proposing the Land-use certificate to the National Land Agency (BPN) of Raja Ampat which issued in 2007 and 2008.

“The local government of Raja Ampat have done it secretly without any permission and consent from the customary landowner on the transfer of the customary tenure land. The government’s action is violating the Government’s Regulation No. 24 of 1997 on the Land Registration,” he explained.

Third, the Raja Ampat government has vowed to provide compensation on the land in the hearing on the Regional Budget Revision of Raja Ampat on 20 September 2018. The compensation has been budgeting in the revision 2018. However, the Government of Raja Ampat has never paid compensation to the customary landowner.

Therefore, the government has broken its promise or conduct a fraud towards the customary landowner.
Four, the customary landowner has taken some persuasive actions and demonstrated their goodwill by visiting the government’s office and asking the Raja Ampat Regent for a dialogue on this issue. However, the local government was not willing to show their goodwill such as not giving any confirmation or explanation on the reason why they did not pay any compensation over the land.

“Based on these mentioned facts, we urged the Government of Raja Ampat, in this case, represented by the Raja Ampat Regent, to respect the law and pay attention to the rights of the customary people whose land deprived arbitrarily by the local government. Secondly, the local government of Raja Ampat, in this case, represented by the regent, to immediately solve the dispute by installing the agreed payments to Hj. Salim’s family as approved in the Regional Budget Revision Meeting of Raja Ampat in 2018,” said Azhar.

Meanwhile, Musa, a member of Hj. Salim’s family said as the customary landowner, he hopes the local government of Raja Ampat shows its goodwill to solve this issue as possible as it could.

“In the mutual agreement, the government only borrowed our land. But now they (the local government) had claimed to have a certificate on the land which issued since 2007,” said Musa by phone in Sentani, Thursday (6/2/2020). (*)

 

Reporter: Engelbert Wally

Editor: Pipit Maizier

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Raja Ampat’s government says to expel tourist ships for destroying coral reefs

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Panoramic view of Raja Ampat Islands. – Antara / Ernest Broning Kakisina

Waisai, Jubi – The Government of Raja Ampat Regency would drive out tourist ships for not complying local shipping regulations. The Regional Secretary Yusuf Salim affirmed the government’s policy is to address the environmental effects caused by tourist boats that often hit and damage coral reefs.

“This policy is to protect the natural reserve of Raja Ampat. Many operating boats do not pay attention to the rules that destroy the coral reefs,” said Yusuf in a meeting with tourism administrators on Thursday (09/01/2020).

He emphasised that the local government would not tolerate those who cause environmental destruction. Their licence would immediately revoke and no longer allowed to operate in Raja Ampat.

“All tourist ships must obey the rule if they want to continue operating in Raja Ampat. Such particular cruise ships must report their arrival to the regional government and follow relevant local regulations,” said Yusuf in a meeting chaired by Regent Abdul Faris Umlati.

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To prevent coral reefs from damage and destruction, managers of tourist ships required to involve certified local guides. If not, they are not allowed to enter and operate in Raja Ampat.

“It is for ensuring the convenience (and safety) during the tour. The coral reefs’ damages also can be avoided (prevented),” said the Head of Raja Ampat Tourism Office Yusdi Lamatenggo on the same occasion.

Further, Yusdi hopes that tourism operators and local people would report to the Tourism Office if they find any tourism services to not involving certified local guides. His office is ready for taking action on those who violate the rules.

Earlier, Lamima Surabaya, an Indonesian-flagged cruise ship, reportedly hit a coral reef surround Misool Island of Raja Ampat Regency, West Papua Province. Meanwhile, several Indonesian cruise ships carrying foreign tourists travelling in Misool Island also suspected of not paying tolls to the regional tourism office for entering local tourist destinations.

The Sub-district chief of Misool Selatan Samsul Rumasukun when contacted from Sorong on Tuesday (7/1/2020) confirmed that Lamima Surabaya was transporting foreign tourists before ran aground on the coral reefs surround Banos and Lenmakana waters in Misool Island on 3 January 2020. But the case was not widely known to the public.

He said the ship had continued its tour, but the incident already tackled by the Raja Ampat Police.

Meanwhile, Adrianus Kaiba, the Head of the Regional Public Service Agency for the Tourism Destination of Regional Tourism Office, separately said that every tourist visit Raja Ampat oblige to pay entrance fees in tourist destinations.

According to him, Lamima Surabaya cruise ship, which reportedly ran aground in the tourist destinations between the islands of Banos and Lemakana Misool, has so far not paid entrance fees to the regional tourism office.

At the end of December 2019, the Provincial Government of West Papua appealed for yachts entering its sea territories to involve local tour guides. This appeal issued following the incident of the cruise ship Aqua Blu landed on the coral reefs of Wayag Island.

The Head of Provincial Tourism and Culture Yusak Wabia in Manokwari on Monday (30/12/2019) stated the importance of using local guide services to avoid accidents such as crashing into coral reefs.

He said the local guides were more aware of the geographical condition of their territory, so it would prevent accidents. “Only local people know for certain the geographical conditions and the weather of their sea. They also maintain the coral reefs which are the source of their livelihood,” he said.

Meanwhile, the Chairman of the Indonesian Tour Guide Association (HPI) in Raja Ampat Regency, West Papua Province, Ranny Iriani Tumundo, regretted the incident of Aqua Blu cruise ship crashing on the coral reefs of Wayag Island.

She conveyed that according to the regulations, each cruise ship sailing around the sea of Raja Ampat oblige to notify the local government and meet the administrative requirement before visiting tourist destinations. Also, they require to pay retribution fee for entrance to the local government through the Office of Investment and Integrated Business Services.

“If a cruise ship has done it, then it is legal to travel in Raja Ampat. Also, the cruise ships must obey the shipping lane and involve local people as tour guides to avoid unexpected incidents happen, such as crashing into a coral reef,” she said. (*)

 

Reporter: ANTARA

Editor: Pipit Maizier

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