TEMPO.CO, Jakarta - Following the devastating flash floods and landslides in the East Nusa Tenggara (NTT), some have requested for President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo to visit the location of the natural disaster in person. The residents deemed the local governments ‘had not acted quick enough.’
“We want the President to see the victims of the natural disaster himself, so the locals could be brave enough to reveal that disaster mitigation has been dealt sluggishly by the regional government,” said GMNI activist Stefend Beda Lelangwayan at the location of the disaster in Lembata District on April 8.
He views that the local government has not shown their seriousness in handling the situation after the region was swept by a major flash flood on April 4. Lembata is one of the hardest-hit regions.
Based to the local authorities data, the death toll is currently at 28 with many more people missing. This situation is made worse by the lack of heavy machinery to evacuate the bodies buried beneath ruins.
However, he believes the actual death toll is difficult to confirm as communication access is disconnected. In addition, the severity of the natural disaster had isolated many remote areas in the region that is unable to be reached by evacuation teams.
Volunteers conducting the search and rescue efforts reportedly had to evacuate dead bodies by hand and search for victims under debris manually. The Indonesian Forum for the Environment (WALHI) of NTT also complained on the sluggish response from the East Nusa Tenggara (NTT) authorities and is urging the government to set the national emergency status in the province.