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Posted (edited)

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SATURDAY, April 13th 2019

Floods crippled major cities along ʻArasa riverbanks

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A widely-circulated picture of a man floating on a raft in downtown Terata (12/04)

MATANGA, Terata –Thousands of kilometres square of land area were reportedly flooded last night (12/04), due to the sudden overflow of ʻArasa river. Two major cities along the riverbanks are also inundated along with hundreds of thousands of hectares of soon-to-be harvested rice fields.

 

The kingdom of Reya, where most of the river flows, bore the brunt of the floods. Terata, the capital of Reya, are among the victims of the flash floods. Economy activities were halted, with most of the city transportation crippled due to the inundation of almost all neighbourhoods in the city. Vaʻana, a major city further upriver, fared much better due to its higher elevation.

 

The floods took no one by surprise, yet some were still unprepared. Heavy downpour in Wusanga mountains throughout the week prompted the Federal Disaster Mitigation Agency (TVWA) to issue alert for people living along the riverbank of ʻArasa river, the longest and largest river in Selayar in terms of volume discharge. The river is also infamous for causing the deadliest natural disaster in the history of Selayar, the 1938 ʻArasa River Floods, which took almost two hundred thousand of lives and still floods occasionally during monsoon.

 

People had been evacuating to higher grounds away from the river from Wednesday this week (10/04), though some had started returning by Friday.

 

Prime Minister Huti Manaranga stated that relief is on the way, and had declared state of emergency in Reya. He also apologised for the government's inaction that led to the disaster. Previously, the nation had been flood-free for six years.

 

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Maps of areas affected by the floods

Evacuation camps are being set up on the dry area around the inundated area, and police along with military have been deployed to help to evacuate citizens that are still stuck in the inundated area.

 

This year's summer monsoon has seen an anomalously high downpour in the south and the west, and the Bureau of Climatology and Meteorology (RTM) had forewarned dangers of floods and landslides. Experts alike warned that this might not be the only flood disaster this year, as other rivers have seen a high amount of discharge lately.

Edited by Selayar
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