East Nusa Tenggara, Seroja: still critical issues, difficulties in aid (VIDEO)
by Mathias Hariyadi

The emergency caused by the passage of the cyclone on 4 April remains high. Debris everywhere, many roads are inaccessible hindering the operations of the rescuers in the delivery of aid. The visit of President Widodo is awaited. The Minister for Social Affairs (surprisingly) is staying in a convent of nuns.

Jakarta (AsiaNews) - The situation in the areas most affected by the passage of cyclone Seroja on 4 April in the province of East Nusa Tenggara (NTT) is still alarming.

Rubble and debris are everywhere on the streets, which are still largely inaccessible today and make it difficult - if not impossible - to deliver humanitarian aid and essential basic necessities to the local population. In many cases, volunteers have to place supplies on motorcycles that, with difficulty, make their way through piles of mud and holes.

Today Indonesian President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo will visit the area, due to land at Frans Seda airport, in the Sikka district, in East Flores. The updated toll speaks of 163 victims, at least 45 missing and hundreds of houses and other buildings damaged or swept away by the fury of the waters.

The head of the Indonesian Civil Protection General Doni Monardo says that "the most affected area, with dozens of deaths, is the island of Adonara" where "we have discovered at least 75 bodies and five others are missing". In the district of Lembata there are 43 dead and 25 missing, in the district of Alor 43 victims and 14 people missing.

Thousands of homeless people are seeking shelter in temporary housing, but bad weather hinders any rescue operation. The cyclone hit at least 21 districts of the NTT province, causing death, destruction and deep terror among the people. In the past, extreme climatic events had occurred, but the latter explains Sister Gaby from Waingapu "is unprecedented" and "massive" in scope.

Among those committed to trying to bring relief is the group coordinated by Dr. Andreas Gunawan, based in Bekasi. However, the conditions are still extreme and it is difficult to find ways of access "even if - he says - we must do everything" to help the affected populations. In a situation that remains precarious, the choice of the Minister for Social Affairs Tri Rismaharini, visiting the affected areas, to stay not in one of the many luxurious hotels in the area but to favour a convent of nuns, the Puteri Reinha Rosary in Larantuka, aroused curiosity and amazement.

Asked by AsiaNews, the superior of the congregation Sister Leoni confirms the astonishment of the sisters to see the minister enter. “We had no idea - she stresses - of the minister's decision to stay with us. Perhaps she did it because we have one thing in common: we are all women, so we know how to deal with women's issues”.


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