7 Oct 2010

Death toll mounts as Papua flood relief is slow

6:51 pm on 7 October 2010

A humanitarian NGO worker says some areas badly hit by the deadly flooding in Indonesia's West Papua province are yet to be reached by rescue and relief teams.

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

Many buildings, roads and bridges are reported to be submerged under mud and debris as a result of the flash flooding which smashed through the Teluk Wondama district as a result of torrential rain.

The town of Wasior is reported to be the worst hit area, but Denny Yomaki of the NGO Demo for Freedom says blocked transport links have so far made it impossible to reach various villages thought to be devastated.

He says that people are fearful of more floods especially with ongoing rain.

"Because Wasior is located right at the foothills of the Wondiwoi Mountains so they're afraid that the next flood will come and be even worse than the one they experienced before."

Indonesia's government has imposed an emergency response period for two weeks in order to concentrate efforts to reach flood victims and distribute relief.

But Denny Yomaki says some people he's spoken to have been critical that state rescue efforts have not been adequate.

It's estimated that more than 4,000 people are homeless and concern is growing about an escalating humanitarian crisis with people contracting diseases.

Hundreds have fled to the closest cities, Nabire and Manokwari.