Indonesia declares West Sumatera flash floods "provincial disaster"

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11 November 2011: The provincial government of West Sumatera has declared the recent flash flooding that hit the south coast a "provincial disaster" while Plan Indonesia today begins an initial assessment of the situation.

Flash flooding hit 8 subdistricts in South Pesisir, West Sumatera, on 2 November, killing 8 people and damaging more than 13,000 homes, while 4 schools were leveled and 95 slightly damaged, leaving 18,000 children without access to schools. Of 52,123 people who were forced to flee their homes, some 5,000 people remain displaced.

"There are some affected people who are starting to be infected with illnesses such as acute respiratory infection, head problems, influenza, cough as well as other water-borne diseases. Heath centers at sub-district level run by local government are currently full of patients," said Ade Edwar, head of the Data Management Center of the Provincial Disaster Management Agency (BPBD) of West Sumatera.

"The focus of BPBD at this time is to verify the data of losses due to the disaster to guarantee the emergency response and early-recovery phase can be addressed well by the government," he added.

The response BPBD is taking the lead in the overall response at the field level and the government began the first phase of the emergency response, set to last 14 days, on 4 November.

At the moment there is a lack of clear information about the status of children and other vulnerable groups affected by the disaster.

The main needs of people are food, hygiene kits, access to clean drinking water and blankets, according to the National Board for Disaster Management and the Mercy Corps.

BPBD, the Mercy Corps and Ready (a local NGO) have said there are still many people affected by the flooding who haven’t received humanitarian aid because they are in isolated areas.

Plan Indonesia’s Disaster Risk Management unit is in contact with the provincial government, as well as local and international organisations, to monitor and update the current situation.

Read more about Plan's work in Indonesia.