Debris Flood Victims and the Unclear Fate

By SAHRUDIN, MagelangImages

MAMAN, 16, was nearly died of Mount Merapi’s cold lava swept. He is one of hundreds residents of Gempol Hamlet, Jumoyo Village, Salam Subdistrict of Magelang Regency. River Putih that brings Mount Merapi’s  debris, flows on the west side of Gempol Hamlet.

That night, Monday (January 3, 2011) around 19.00 pm, he suddenly heard a rumbling sound from the river. And soon, water carrying sand and stones appeared before him. He ran quickly to save himself, until he found a palm tree near him. Maman climbed the tree, and he felt it was shaking so badly.

He survived on top of the palm tree until the cold lava flooding stopped. He saw down there, his hamlet had been buried in sand, while large stones destroyed houses. Nothing left…

Gempol Hamlet, Jumoyo Village, Salam Subdistrict of Magelang Regency was nearly buried in sand after debris flood from River Putih on Sunday (January 9, 2011) evening.

DISASTER befell residents in villages at the slope and the foot of Mount Merapi didn’t yet stop. Mount Merapi eruption on October and November 2010 continued with cold lava flood flowing through some rivers, ie River Putih, River Pabelan, River Lamat and River Senowo.

Debris flood attacked at least 5 of 21 subdistricts in Magelang Regency. According to the latest statistics of the Local Government of Magelang Regency,  129 homes lost due to debris flood, 307 severely damaged, 129 moderately damaged, and 156 homes minorly damaged. Moreover, 14 bridges were collapsed, dozens of people were injured and some were died.

Mount Merapi’s cold lava flood was also caused hundreds of hectares of rice fields severely damaged and buried in sand, irrigation facilities destroyed, so that thousands farmers being threatened job loss. Even today, they are still faced with the economy, social, education and health problems posed by debris flood.

So where is government’s role in this post-disaster recovery? During Mount Merapi eruption and debris flood, the local government and Jakarta did help a lot over the victims. At least, they provided food, transportation, medicine and refugee camps. But in case of the lost houses and ground caused by cold lava flood, there was no meaningful compensation for the victims. Residents who lost their homes, hitherto, still to be homeless.

Actually, Yoseph Umar Hadi, Commission V Chairman of Indonesia House of Representatives, on Wednesday (January 26, 2011) in his visiting at Jumoyo Village of Salam Subdistrict, told, government either local or Jakarta, should compensate the lost homes and ground caused by cold lava flood. Some other figures were also suggested the same thing. But in fact, months after those statements, there are still nothing the such compensation, until today.

Now, how does it feel to know the taxes they pay are useless, meaningless and a net loss for them and for the economy? Because in fact, the cold lava flood victims have been working by themselves to fix their destroyed irrigation facilities, to dig their buried houses, to face their unclear fate…*** []


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