Heavy rains that have been pounding the Island of Sumatra, Indonesia, since 7 February, have caused signficant floods and landslides, killing at least 5 people, damaging more than 7,100 houses and displacing or isolating at least 12,000 families. As well as causing a substantial humanitarian impact, the floods have rendered some villages inaccesible, due to damaged bridges or blocked roads, and submerged public facilities including health centres and schools. Based on preliminary information, some 14,400 families (around 55,900 people) have been affected across 5 provinces. These numbers are likely to increase over the coming days since ongoing heavy rains could potentially bring additional flooding and potential landslides.
In West Sumatra Province, a landslide in the district of Solok Selatan left five people dead and one person missing. Flooding has affected 8 districts in the province (Dharmasraya, Kota Payakumbuh, Kota Solok, Lima Puluh Kota, Pasaman, Solok, Solok Selatan and Sijunjung), with 674 houses damaged, 5 bridges destroyed and 2,369 families displaced.
In the province of Bangka Belitung, flooding has displaced or isolated 2,364 families in 14 displacement sites in 4 districts – Central Bangka, Kota Pangkal Pinang, South Bangka and West Bangka. Local populations are also facing power cuts and disruption to communication lines.
In Riau Province, the floods have affected 2 districts – Kampar and Rokan Hulu – submerging 2,032 houses and displacing 4,887 families. There is limited access to some parts of the province after five bridges were damaged. The height of floodwater in the affected districts varied between 50 centimetres and 3 metres, and inundated public facilities such as health centres, mosques, police stations and schools.
In the province of Aceh, flooding has affected 3 districts (Aceh Besar, Aceh Utara and Pidie), isolating 1,799 households.
As for North Sumatra province, the flood hit the district of Binjai causing the displacement of 3,000 families.
The local government authorities in the provinces of Bangka Belitung, West Sumatra and Riau Province have already declared the “Emergency” status for two weeks. Meanwhile, in Aceh and North Sumatra provinces, local government authorities have maintained ‘Alert’ status.
Red Cross and Red Crescent action
The Indonesian Red Cross – Palang Merah Indonesia (PMI) – has worked closely with the local disaster management authority (BPBD), the army, the police and other local government agencies in undertaking evacuations and are currently providing relief assistance to the affected families.
In Aceh province, PMI staff and volunteers have taken part in the evacuation of affected people. They have also been conducting emergency assessments, providing first aid services, and have so far distributed 250 hygiene kits, 200 family kits, 209 mosquito nets, 200 tarpaulins and 209 sarong.
In the province of West Sumatra, the PMI chapter and branches also conducted evacuations, provided first aid services and have undertaken initial assessments. The West Sumatra chapter of PMI is set to distribute 400 family kits, 100 rubber boots and 300 tarpaulins which have been dispatched from the national headquarters.
In Bangka Belitung province, PMI chapter and branches conducted evacuation, first aid and health services, emergency assessments, established a field command post, and provided meals to 1,500 affected people via their field kitchen. The Bangka Belitung chapter is set to distribute 50 baby kits, 200 family kits and 200 tarpaulins which have been dispatched from the national headquarters.
In the province of North Sumatra, the PMI chapter and branch – together with the local authorities – are currently handling the situation, evacuating those affected, providing first aid services and conducting initial assessments. The PMI North Sumatra chapter is regularly keeping the national headquarters informed about the evolution of needs on the ground.
In Riau province, PMI chapter and branches are conducting emergency assessments and participating in coordination meetings with related government agencies. The chapter and branches have set up field clinics, including mobilizing ten medical doctors and ten other health personnel, established field kitchens to provide meals to the affected population, and are distributing safe drinking water.
Based on initial assessments and considering the growing scale of needs in the affected areas, PMI is planning to scale up its relief operation. The scaled up response operation will focus on provision of first aid and health services through mobile clinics, health promotion, psychosocial support, distribution of safe drinking water, distribution of cleaning kits and distribution of relief items. The PMI response will be closely coordinated with the authorities and other actors who are involved in meeting the immediate needs caused by the floods.
Meantime, the IFRC Country Cluster Support Team (CCST) in Jakarta is coordinating with PMI and Partner National Societies with in-country presence to ensure that there is adequate technical and financial support for the response. At the request of PMI, the CCST is supporting the National Society in finalizing a plan of action for which the support of in-country partners or Disaster Relief Emergency Fund (DREF) will be sought. The CCST is keeping the IFRC Asia Pacific Regional Office in Kuala Lumpur, informed of the developments.