21 Mar 2019

Mass funeral for Papua flood victims as death toll passes 100

4:43 pm on 21 March 2019

Mass burials are being planned as the death toll rises from the Sentani flash floods in Indonesia's Papua Province.

Flooding in Papua, March 2019

Rescue efforts during the flooding in Papua Photo: Jubi

Disaster agency officials said the death toll had climbed again with 104 people now confirmed dead, 160 injured and 79 others still missing.

With 40 victims who had not yet been identified, the Jayapura Regent decided that the victims would be buried en masse.

The Jayapura regency administration is coordinating with families and churches to prepare land for the upcoming mass funeral.

The National Disaster Management Agency said the number of people displaced by the flooding and landslides had also increased with nearly 10,000 victims sheltering in 18 refuge centres.

Numerous buildings had been severely damaged including nearly 400 houses, five churches, eight schools, 100 shops, four bridges and four roads.

Flooding in Papua in March 2019

Flooding in Papua in March 2019 Photo: Jubi

Flooding in Papua in March 2019

Photo: Jubi

The agency said rescue teams were continuing their searches and the displaced are traumatised and fearful of further flash flooding in the Jayapura region.

Meanwhile, the large number of displaced people has led to shelters becoming full and uncomfortable.

The distribution of aid has also been difficult and a decision has been taken by authorities to combine 18 smaller shelters into six larger posts which means many people will be moving again.

Emergency efforts are being conducted by over 2000 personnel from 28 national and Papua-based organisations to help with the search and rescue of victims, evacuations, health services, public kitchens and refugee coordination.

Roads are being cleared, temporary bridges constructed and efforts are underway to source more clean water.

The Governor of Papua, Lukas Enembe, has declared the disaster as a provincial emergency with an initial response period of two weeks set from the flash flooding which happened on Saturday 16 March where a month's worth of torrential rain fell in seven hours.

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People in a shelter following the flooding in Papua Photo: Jubi

People recovering following the flooding in Jayapura.

Photo: Jubi

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