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Aid rushed to Indonesian flood and landslide victims

JAKARTA (UCAN): Aid is being rushed to victims of floods and landslides in Indonesia’s South Sulawesi province that have killed dozens of people and displaced thousands over the third week of January.
At least 68 people were reported dead and 6,700 others were made homeless, Sutopo Purwo Nugroho, spokesperson of the National Disaster Mitigation Agency, said on January 27.
The disaster, which followed heavy rains, is thought to be the worst in decades and has badly affected 12 districts across Sulawesi province, destroying about 550 houses and submerging about 5,100 others.
Flooding has also damaged scores of schools, places of worship and bridges, while 13,000 hectares of agricultural land were also badly hit, Nugroho said.
Martina Ella, coordinator of Caritas in the Archdiocese of Makassar, said it has distributed basic essentials such as food and was still collecting other aid items such as hygiene kits and clothing.
Irene Ambrat, a parish worker in Sudiang-Mandai, said many people on her area were forced to flee flooding brought about by three days of heavy rain.
“We’ve established an emergency station in the church compound to provide food and other basic needs,” she said.
According to the Meteorology, Climatology and Geophysics Agency,
heavy rain and strong winds are continuing to lash South Sulawesi and other regions in Indonesia.
The country’s vice president, Jusuf Kalla, who visited South Sulawesi on January 26, blamed the landslides on deforestation and called on the environmental ministry to allocate funds for a reforestation programme.
He said the government would pay compensation of up to 15 million rupiahs ($8,358) per person to the families of those who lost their lives in the disaster. 

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