Floods displace thousands, cause severe congestion across Java

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Yuli Tri Suwarni and Wahyoe Boediwardhana, The Jakarta Post, Bandung/Pasuruan | Tue, 12/27/2011 11:18 PM

Thousands of residents have been displaced since Sunday after floods inundated residential areas across several parts of Java.

In Bandung, the floods caused 11-hour traffic congestion on the Rancaekek-Nagrek road section, about 35 kilometers (km) from downtown.

Vehicles lined up for 5 km along the Cileunyi turnpike leading to Rancaekek, while they reached 8 km in the direction of Tasikmalaya and Garut.

“The floods are very severe. I have never experienced this before,” Tika Sartika, a traveler, said.

Hadi Kusmarani said it took him five hours, or three hours longer than normal, to travel from Tasikmalaya to Bandung.

“Last night I heard from television and radio about the congestion, so I left Tasikmalaya at 5 a.m. but I’m still stuck in the jam,” he said.

Thousands of people were forced to evacuate as the Citarum River overflowed, flooding 5,134 houses in Rancaekek, Baleendah, Cicalengka, Majalaya and Dayeuhkolot.

Water was logged at between 40 centimeters (cm) and 2 meters in depth.

Hasanuddin, head of Citarum Management Center (BBWS), said that they had installed five water pumps to help curb the rising water.

“Water is flowing from the uplands at 400 cubic meters per second compared to the normal 300,” he told The Jakarta Post in Bandung.

The floods also delayed dredging work as river levels reached 5 meters.

The floods also hit Cirebon on the north coast of West Java. Thousands of houses in eight villages were submerged by 1.5-meter floods.

The waters receded but standing water remained in some areas with depths reaching 50 cm.

No fatalities were reported but the disaster is estimated to have caused billions of rupiah in losses.

In Pasuruan, East Java, heavy rains engulfed several areas in the regency. One person was killed after being swept away by currents.

The floods also swamped a stretch of the Java North Coast Highway (Pantura) to a depth of between 50 and 75 cm, cutting the road from Surabaya to Probolinggo and backing up traffic for several kilometers.

Pasuruan Disaster Mitigation Agency (BPBD) head Yudha Tri Widya Sasongko confirmed the situation, but said the floods had gradually receded as of Monday morning.

According to Yudha, the deceased, who was working on a drainage project in the Kedung Larangan River in Bangil district, was identified as Yunus, 25, from Kediri regency, East Java.

“The victim slipped and fell into the Pecuk River in Karangjati village, Pandaan district. He was swept away by the current and his body was found on Sunday evening about 500 meters away,” said Yudha.

As the main highway connecting Surabaya and Probolinggo was cut, traffic was rerouted through Pandaan, Purwosari and Pasuruan, or a detour of more than 40 km.

The floods in Pasuruan have inundated three districts — Bangil, Pohjentrek and Kraton.

In Bangil, the floods engulfed hundreds of homes in Kalianyar and Tambaan villages, while in Pohjentrek, the floods deluged Sukorejo village, and hundreds of homes in Tambakrejo village in Kraton district.

Besides engulfing the homes, the floods also swamped between 60 and 100 hectares of rice fields.

According to Yudha, the floods in Pasuruan were due to high rainfall in upstream areas. Heavy rains that fell in Lawang, Malang regency, have caused the Welang River, which passes Pasuruan, to overflow. As a result, villages, through which the river flows, were inundated.

The floods have intensified due to heavy rains in Prigen and Pandaan, located on the slope of Mount Arjuna and Mount Welirang.

Based on observations on Monday at noon, the floods had gradually receded, marked by the depleting pools of water around the settlements. Traffic flow has also returned to normal. However, three villages in Bangil — Kalirejo, Kalianyar and Tambaan, are still swamped by water of around 20 cm in depth.

“The local BPBD is still making efforts to pump out water engulfing the three villages in Bangil,” said Yudha.

Heavy rains that fell since Sunday morning, also caused a landslide which cut access to the Mount Bromo resort area in Tosari village, Tosari district, Pasuruan.

— Nana Rukmana contributed to the reports from Cirebon