7 Oct 2010

Papua flood victims reached by sea

5:25 pm on 7 October 2010

Rescue and relief efforts in response to the flash flooding in Indonesia's West Papua province are largely being deployed by sea because of crippled transport links.

Media reports put the death toll as high as 110, with dozens more thought to be missing.

The town of Wasior is reported to be the worst hit area, with many buildings submerged under mud and debris as a result of the massive waves which hit the Teluk Wondama district on Monday.

Priyadi Kardono of the National Disaster Management Agency says the response to this disaster is severely restricted because air and land links to the region remain badly hampered.

He says passenger ships are being utilised in conjunction with Navy vessels to bring in relief and take the injured to medical centres.

"Some have already evacuated to Manokwari, which is about eight hours by ship. The infrastructure is broken also. There is no telephone, no electricity, and it is difficult to find water, clean water."

Meanwhile, the government has decided to impose an emergency response period for 14 days in order to concentrate efforts to rescue flood victims.