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Cyclone Lili causes floods, strong winds in Maluku

News and Press Release
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Ivany Atina Arbi

The National Disaster Mitigation Agency (BNPB) said on Thursday that a tropical cyclone emerging from the Banda Sea in Maluku, called Lili, had just hit several villages hard in the form of severe rain and strong wind.

Water as deep as 1.5 meters on average had reportedly inundated three villages in three separate districts in the province: Laitutun village in Letti Island district, Tounwawan in Moa Lakor and Luang Timur in Mdona Hiera.

No casualties were reported in the disaster, but scores of houses and a number of public facilities were damaged.

“The tropical cyclone had hit the region since Monday,and came into its peak on Wednesday night at 9 p.m. local time. High waves discouraged fishermen from sailing,” BNPB spokesperson Sutopo Purwo Nugroho said in a statement.

As of Thursday afternoon, the floods receded by up to 50 cm, he added.

The Meteorology, Climatology and Geophysics Agency (BMKG) had previously urged residents of the eastern part of the country -- particularly in areas surrounding the Banda Sea -- to stay alert and prepare for potential severe rain as it detected the early signs of a tropical cyclone in the waters on Tuesday.

“The ‘baby’ cyclone has grown bigger and stronger in the past 12 hours, so please prepare for the real tropical cyclone to come,” said BMKG meteorology deputy head Mulyono R. Prabowo in a press statement. The strong wind was blowing toward the south approaching East Nusa Tenggara (NTT) and Timor Leste.

Among the various effects of the cyclone would be severe rain in NTT, Maluku and Timor Leste, strong wind in NTT, Maluku and some parts of Sulawesi and high tides in the waters of the Banda Sea and Arafuru Sea.

Water transportation in the affected area was expected to be disrupted by the hurricane, so citizens are being told to be cautious. “Severe rain potentially leads to flash floods and landslides,” Mulyono added.