"Branches and roots of the (floating) trees were intact. It shows that the trees were not a result of the illegal logging activity (suspected of having) caused the flash floods," he told the press.Jakarta (ANTARA) - The Environmental Affairs and Forestry Ministry has confirmed there was no illegal logging activity in the Sentani areas hit by flash floods on Saturday (March16, 2019), according to IB Putera Parthama, the ministry's Director General for River Basin Management.
There were no logs floating or swept away by flood waters in the Sentani Sub-district, Jayapura District, Indonesia's eastern most province of Papua, Perthama said here, Tuesday.
"Branches and roots of the floating trees were intact. It shows that the trees were not a result of the illegal logging activity (suspected of having) caused the flash floods," he told the press.
Sentani located in the Cycloop mountainous area is prone to flash floods and landslides during heavy rain because the area has a steep slope and an unstable river basin.
The flooding on March 16, 2019, was triggered by heavy rains that went on incessantly for six hours.
The forest conversion in Sentani was also not significant, as it covered a total area of 495.47 hectares or 3.3 percent during the 2012-2017 period.
"From 2012 to 2017, the forest area converted into non-forest area reached only 3.3 percent. So, it's not strong enough to associate the disaster with the forest conversion," he said.
According to the 2018 data, the forest coverage in the river basin area in Sentani was around 55 percent, meaning it was good enough.
The flash floods in Sentani killed at least 82 people and rendered 74 others missing, while the landslide in Ampera in Jayapura District claimed seven lives, Senior Commissioner Ahmad Kamal, spokesman of the Papua Police, said in a statement quoted by Detik.com.
A total of 11,725 people were affected by the widespread flooding and landslide in Jayapura, particularly Sentani.
EDITED BY INE
Translator: Martha H, Fardah
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