MAF Aceh Team Responds to Mudslide in Kutacane

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KUTACANE, Indonesia — A massive mudslide occurred on Wednesday, April 12, at 6:00 a.m. in the district of Kutacane on the island of Sumatra, about a 1.5 hour flight from Banda Aceh, where an MAF base is located.

MAF’s Aceh program conducted a flight for a group from Banda Aceh that is aiming to provide temporary shelters as well as a kitchen in order to feed people who have evacuated their homes. This NGO is doing assessments to determine how they can recruit workers to help the people of Kutacane.

Corey Kirkwood, MAF’s manager in Aceh, reports, “Initial estimates were that roughly 400-500 homes were either destroyed totally or sustained significant damage. As of Friday afternoon, that count had risen to 657 homes. Most of the homes that were damaged significantly are made of wood. There are roughly 2,700 people currently homeless and finding refuge wherever they can … Four churches were destroyed and one mosque. Up to this point, three people have been found dead.

MAF is providing flights for aid workers after a mudslide buried homes and extensively damaged villages in the Kutacane region of Indonesia, on the island of Sumatra. Photo: Amber Desist “There are significant challenges being faced in clean up. There are portions of town where the elevation has literally changed. Some villages are now close to 10 feet higher than they were. Some homes are buried up to the roof. Where does one start when everything in the village is buried to that extent? That is not everywhere but it is in a few locations. Other villages are primarily flooded with debris, which is less complex. Another challenge is that new sources of water have popped up all over. Because the mountain naturally has many streams of water flowing, those have since been moved and now water is flowing in the middle of town.”

MAF is maintaining communication with those organizing aid efforts and is providing subsidized flights for relief organizations.

Corey said, “The truth is, there needs to be a lot of people there with shovels and earthmovers right now. The road from Medan to Kutacane is completely covered in mud and is not usable. What would normally be a six-hour drive has now become about 25 hours as they are forced to use another route.”