Thousands flee as storm submerges homes in Philippine & Indonesia

More than 53,000 people were forced to flee their homes over the weekend after heavy rains brought by Dujuan, the Philippines’ first storm o...


More than 53,000 people were forced to flee their homes over the weekend after heavy rains brought by Dujuan, the Philippines’ first storm of the year, flooded several parts of the country, particularly its southern region.At least five people were killed, four of them were children who were swept away by the strong river currents in separate places in South and West Jakarta(Indonesia)The Indonesian capital of Jakarta could see more flooding and landslides this week as the meteorology agency predicted rains of moderate to heavy intensity to sweep through the city over the next few days

400 houses were destroyed by the storm, a few of which were swept away by floodwaters.

Alexander Pimentel, governor of the Surigao Del Sur province, said that 41,492 of the affected individuals were from his area, which was “the most affected by the cyclone.”

During a radio interview with DZMM on Monday, Pimentel said “187 homes were totally damaged, and 236 were partially destroyed in the province,” adding that “floodwaters were neck-deep,” particularly in Tandag City.

Other municipalities had also been affected by the strong winds and heavy rains unleashed by Dujuan, he said.

According to the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC), most of the evacuees are from 216 villages in the CARAGA Administrative Region, Northern Mindanao, and areas in the Central Visayas and Eastern Visayas regions.

The NDRRMC report added that of the affected residents in the four regions, 49,236 people had temporarily sought shelter at evacuation centers, with others turning to their relatives or friends for help.

Pimentel said that most parts of Surigao Del Norte were located along the shoreline, with several of its municipalities facing the Pacific Ocean. Usually only some parts of Surigao Del Sur would experience flooding, but Dujuan is the worst cyclone the province has ever endured.

“Almost the entire province was flooded,” Pimentel said, adding that he is “thankful for the preparedness of the mayors and first responders” of the 17 towns and two cities of Surigao Del Sur.

He added that as early as last Friday “they were already prepared for the possible effects of the cyclone.

“We were all set with the engineering and rescue equipment and ambulances. Preemptive evacuations were also carried out ahead of the arrival of the storm,” he said, adding that so far, there are no reported casualties “despite the massive flooding.”

The governor said: “Floods were worse last Friday and Saturday, some houses were swept away, some were hit by falling wood.”

Some of the evacuation centers were unable to implement minimum health standards — particularly social distancing measures to limit the spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) — due to overcrowding. Some of the centers were submerged in flood water.

Local officials, however, were working round the clock to monitor the situation, with affected residents starting to return to their homes after the weather improved on Monday, Pimentel said.

Meanwhile, the NDRRMC said that the floodwaters had also affected road networks in other regions, with 40 domestic flights cancelled from Feb. 19 to 22.

Classes were also suspended, and government offices closed down in some parts of the Visayas on Saturday and Sunday.

Dujuan weakened into a tropical depression late on Sunday ahead of its landfall in Eastern Visayas’ Northern Samar region. It is expected to bring moderate to heavy rains in parts of southern Luzon.

The rains will primarily hit Jakarta in the evening and last well into the morning, Mdm Dwikorita Karnawati, chief of the Meteorology, Climatology and Geophysics Agency (BMKG) said in a statement.


“The intensity will weaken on Feb 22 but could intensify into moderate to heavy on Feb 23 and 24,” she said, adding that this could trigger more flooding and landslides in Jakarta and its surrounding suburbs.

Several areas in Jakarta and the neighbouring cities of Tangerang and Bekasi were inundated in water up to 2m deep on Saturday (Feb 20) morning. Mdm Karnawati said that day, Jakarta recorded between 154mm and 226mm of rain over a 24-hour period. Rainfall above 150mm a day is considered extreme.

According to the National Disaster Mitigation Agency, the rains caused several rivers to surge and overflow to crowded housing complexes along their banks.

At least five people were killed, four of them were children who were swept away by the strong river currents in separate places in South and West Jakarta. The other was a 67-year-old man who was trapped at his home in South Jakarta as water continued to submerge his neighbourhood.  

The rains also overwhelmed Jakarta’s drainage system, causing several major streets and toll roads to be submerged in water up to 70cm deep, rendering them inaccessible. The floods also affected areas which are not considered flood prone.

“My neighbourhood has never flooded before. I have lived here since I was five years old but on Saturday it was submerged,” Mdm Ratih Andriani, 41, told CNA of her neighbourhood in Jagakarsa, South Jakarta.

“The rain was so heavy I had trouble sleeping. There was thunder and lightning too. At 3am, water on the small river behind my housing complex began to rise,” she continued. Two hours later, her neighbourhood was submerged in 40cm deep water.

Mdm Andriani said she suffered little property damage and that water in her neighbourhood receded at 10am. “But the floods have caused massive traffic jams and cut off access in some areas. I was supposed to take my daughter to see the doctors that day,” she said.

This aerial picture shows vehicles stopped at the edge of a flooded road in Jakarta on Feb 20, 2021, following heavy overnight rains. (Photo: AFP/Arya)

Mr Ferdinand Simanjuntak said he was stuck in the traffic for four hours for his 10km travel. “I was trying to get to my mother’s house. She was living alone and her house got flooded. But some roads were inaccessible and I had to take multiple detours through small back roads to get to where I needed to go,” he told CNA.

By the time he got to his mother’s house in Pejaten, South Jakarta, Mr Simanjuntak said she was taking shelter at a neighbour's house.

“I braved the flood to retrieve a few precious belongings from my mother’s house. It was flooded in 1m-deep water. Her furniture and electronics were destroyed. I grabbed everything that I could save and I took my mother home with me,” he said. The two then spent hours trying to get out of the flood prone area.

The flooding had displaced more than 1,700 people. As of Monday morning, most of the victims had returned to their homes to clean the mud and silts covering their belongings.

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South Punjab News : Thousands flee as storm submerges homes in Philippine & Indonesia
Thousands flee as storm submerges homes in Philippine & Indonesia
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