Child dies in flood, houses buried in landslides

Hotli Simanjuntak and Rizal Harahap, The Jakarta Post, Banda Aceh/ Pekanbaru | Archipelago | Thu, November 06 2014, 10:52 AM

Heavy rain has caused flooding, inundating hundreds of houses in Riau, killing a boy and triggering landslides in Aceh.

Seven-year-old Novi Aroyan was swept away by strong flood water in Seuneobuk village in West Aceh as he played with his friends in a pool of water close to his house on Tuesday afternoon.

“The victim was swept away by currents after he slipped into a swift-flowing water channel,” said West Aceh Disaster Mitigation Agency (BPBD) official Saiful AB on Wednesday.

Four days of incessant rain in Aceh have triggered floods and landslides in a number of regencies, displacing thousands of residents, ruining rice crops and severing roads.

Scores of homes have been buried in landslides, including 19 in Aceh Jaya and Aceh Besar regencies.

In Aceh Besar, data provided by Lhoong district chief Azhar Asnawi showed 19 of the 28 villages in the district had been engulfed by floods. These areas were earlier isolated due to severed roads in Gunung Paro, Kulu, Geurutee and several other accesses to the affected villages.

South Aceh Regent HT Sama Indra has declared an emergency response period of 14 days from Nov. 2, to deal with the floods and landslides.

The Aceh Meteorology, Climatology and Geophysics Agency (BMKG) has urged residents to remain alert as more rain and storms are imminent and could continue until the end of the year.

In Tapaktuan on Wednesday, former South Aceh regency councilor Azmir urged the South Aceh regency administration to temporarily cut development projects in Labuhan Haji Raya because the current need was to normalize rivers and drainage systems to prevent more floods.

“River and drain normalization is very urgent, especially due to the high intensity of rain based on the BMKG forecast,” Azmir said.

High rainfall in the past couple of days in the Bukit Barisan mountain range has caused the water level of several rivers in Rokan Hulu regency, Riau province, to rise. In Rambah Tengah Hulu village, Rambah district, dozens of homes were engulfed when Pawan River burst its banks early Wednesday.

Riau’s Rokan Hulu BPBD head, Aceng Herdiana, urged residents, especially those living on low plains and in river delta areas, to be more alert as the regency had entered the rainy season.

“The wet season usually goes together with other natural occurrences, such as landslides and strong winds. The tall trees in residential areas should be pruned so as not to endanger people and their belongings,” he added.