Volunteers, journalists trapped in Sigi after main road blocked by landslide debris

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By Ruslan Sangadji

Volunteers and journalists have reportedly been isolated for days in Kulawi district in Sigi, Central Sulawesi, while distributing disaster relief, as flood and landslide debris blocked the main road leading to the provincial capital of Palu.

Torrential rain had poured in the region for days, leading to floods that inundated villages in the district, including Sadaunta and Salua. A landslide later blocked the main road connecting Sigi and Palu, hindering motorists and motorcyclists from reaching the provincial capital.

Hendra, an editor of local state-owned television station TVRI, told The Jakarta Post on Sunday that there were at least three TVRI journalists trapped in Kulawi district, located around 72 kilometers south of Palu.

“They can’t go back to Palu as the road was blocked,” Hendra said, adding that they were all safe and could make phone calls to their respective offices in Palu.

Local newspaper Luwuk Post journalist Irwan K. Basir said he and dozens of volunteers who previously distributed aid in the area have safely relocated to Bolapapu village.

“We’re taking shelter in Sadaunta village, which was not hit by the flood,” Irwan said via a text message.

Central Sulawesi administration spokesman Haris Kariming said authorities had dispatched at two heavy machines around the location of the landslide to remove debris from the road. (kuk/swd)