9 Oct 2010

Illegal logging seen as factor in flooding

9:17 am on 9 October 2010

Indonesia's Forestry Minister Zulkifli Hasan says illegal logging may have contributed to devastation brought by flash flooding in West Papua province.

Reports from Indonesia put the death toll from the flooding in the Teluk Wandama district as high as 110, with the figure expected to rise.

Crippled air and transport links are hampering rescue and relief efforts in the worst-hit area, Wasior, where many villages are submerged in mud and debris.

The Jakarta Post reports that Mr Hasan has assumed that the flooding was caused by illegal logging and territorial division, under which a large forest area was transformed into a city.

Mr Hasan says he personally saw 200,000 square metres of illegally-harvested logs during a recent visit in Sorong.