National Disaster Strikes West Sumatra: 30 Lives Lost, Millions in Damages

National Disaster Strikes West Sumatra: 30 Lives Lost, Millions in Damages

West Sumatra, The Gulf Observer: The Head of the National Disaster Mitigation Agency (BNPB), Suharyanto, reported a tragic toll on Monday as floods and landslides wreaked havoc in West Sumatra, claiming the lives of 30 residents and causing extensive damage to infrastructure. The disasters, described as quite massive, resulted in 27 fatalities in South Pesisir District and three fatalities in Padang Pariaman District.

Apart from the human casualties, the hydrometeorological disasters inflicted significant damage estimated at over Rp226 billion (approximately US$14.58 million), according to local government assessments.

Responding swiftly to the unfolding crisis, President Jokowi instructed BNPB to mobilize immediate response efforts to address the dire conditions gripping the region. Data from the agency indicated that floods affected 12 districts and cities in West Sumatra Province.

Out of these areas, five regions, namely South Pesisir District, Padang City, Mentawai Islands District, Padang Pariaman District, and West Pasaman District, have declared a state of emergency due to the magnitude of the disasters.

“These five regions were affected by disasters that are quite massive,” noted the Head of BNPB, emphasizing the severity of the situation.

West Sumatra Governor Mahyeldi attributed the floods and landslides to a combination of factors, including prolonged and intense rainfall lasting more than 12 hours. Improperly functioning drainage channels led to blockages at several points, exacerbating the crisis. Additionally, inadequate attention to regional spatial planning in infrastructure and residential areas’ development played a role.

On-field data collection revealed instances of deforestation and deformation in landslide-hit areas, exacerbating the impact. The damages extended to the destruction of river retaining wall structures, further contributing to the devastation in the affected regions. The government now faces the challenging task of coordinating rescue and relief efforts while addressing the broader issues that contributed to this tragic disaster.