Lake Sentani water level rises due to rain, Jayapura regent declares emergency alert

Jayapura Regent, Mathius Awoitauw during a visit to Yoboi Village to see the condition of the rising water level of Lake Sentani. -Jubi/Engel Wally

Sentani, Jubi – The heavy rains that have hit Papua’s Jayapura Regency for the past few days have not only caused floods in public facilities and residential areas but also rose the water level of Lake Sentani to 70 centimeters from its normal limit.

Due to this matter, Jayapura Regent Mathius Awoitauw has declared an emergency alert status for Jayapura Regency.

Awoitauw admitted he had visited a number of villages on Sunday, January 9, 2022, to ensure that the rise of water level at Lake Sentani did not have a serious impact on the people as it did in March 2019.

“The lake water has increased slightly, we have visited most of the inundated places,” said Awoitauw on Monday. He said he had coordinated a number of stakeholders to anticipate the current situation.

“Some of the villages on the coast of Lake Sentani indeed experience the impact of the increase in water levels but this time around, it is unlike two years ago wherein the water rose to two meters and caused many villagers to evacuate to the mainland,” he added.

According to Awoitauw, intense monitoring of the current conditions were much needed, especially given the unstable weather. “Everything must be anticipated properly so that people do not become victims as they were in the past. Evacuation and aid posts have been built at several points,” he explained.

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Meanwhile, the traditional community leader of Yobeh Village, Yafet Felle, said that the local government should pay serious attention to buffer and infiltration areas, or areas that are not supposed to be built but have recently become residential areas.

“We must ensure no residential settlements built on the buffer and infiltration areas. Otherwise, we will only feel the impact every rainy season. It only rained for 30 minutes but Sentani [District] was immediately flooded. This means that there is a place or path for water that has been closed or buried for house construction that the water runoff from high to low places easily flows. As a result, floods occur everywhere,” said Felle. (*)

Reporter: Engelbert Wally
Editor: Kristianto Galuwo

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