Heavy rains have caused a devastating flash flood on 16 March 2019. Landslides and floods have mainly affected the city of Sentani in the regency of Jayapura, Papua Province. The flash flood reportedly hit the city around 9.30 pm (East Indonesia Time). A few hours later around 0.15 am, a large landslide also came down in Jayapura City (see map below). The heavy rainfalls also lead to the raise of water level in the Sentani lake, causing the displacement of many people from the Sentani tribe, whose houses are located on the lakeside. . A government report estimates that at least 105 persons died during the natural disasters, 82 persons are reported missing, 915 persons were injured and more than 5000 persons were displaced. Apart from the destruction of houses, the flood also severely damaged the infrastructure in Jayapura Regency, such as bridges, schools and places of worship.
Observers stated that the landslide came off the Cyclop mountain, which is located at the norther outskirts of Sentani. The spokesperson of the disaster control agency, Sutopo Purwo Nugroho, assumed that a landslide formed a natural dam, causing the accumulation of a large amount of water. The dam collapsed under the heavy water pressure and caused a flash flood which uprooted trees and tearing rocks down the mountain (see top right image). The regent of Jayapura, Mathius Awoitauw said that the flood was the landslides and heavy floods occurred as a result of Deforestation and other environmental degradations, which have taken place on Cyclop mountain.
UN chief António Guterres expressed solidarity with Indonesian authorities in response to the devastating flash floods. Guterres stated that he was “saddened by the loss of life, destruction of property and displacement of people’ due to flash floods and landslides in Sentani, Jayapura and Papua, and of the earthquake in West Nusa Tenggara Province […] the United Nations expresses its solidarity with the Indonesian authorities and stands ready to work with them as they respond to the humanitarian needs resulting from both natural disasters.”
Map showing the areas affected by the flash flood and landslides
Red dots and area show the areas which were majorly affected by the flood and landslides. Yellow dots represent medium, green spots minor damages.