Natural Disaster in Garut, West Java on 20th September 2016

At about 11pm on the 20th September 2016, flash floods occurred on the Cimanuk and Cikamuri rivers in the city of Garut, which is in the mountainous region of West Java. At the same time several landslides near the town of Sumedang, also in West Java occurred and which have continued for several days after.

The main disaster areas were at Kampung Bojong Sudika in the district of Tarogong Kidul on the Cimanuk River and behind the Dr. Slamet General Hospital, also on the Cimanuk River.

My wife and I and a couple of her volunteers rented a car with a driver and filled it up with supplies. The cost of the supplies was just Rp3.65 million but it filled up the car. We also prepared cash handouts for many of the victims whose houses were either washed away or badly damaged.

Another Rp1.5 million together with donated clothes were to be given to the Tanjung Sari Mosque in Sumedang for the victims of the landslides.

50 kg of Rice
166 pcs Baby Diapers
Cleaning materials, Mops & Scrapers
140 bars of Soap
60 sachets of Shampoo
150 pcs Sanitary Pads
24 pairs of Women’s Underwear
12 pairs of Men’s underwear
12 pairs of Children’s underwear
45 Toothbrushes
5 Sets Knives & Chopping Boards
3 Woks & Cooking Implements
I Food Steamer
4 packets Baby Wipes
24 pcs new baby clothes
12 pcs long pants for babies
12 Hats & Socks
Medicines for Cough, Flu, Diarrhea & Skin Rash, Paracetamol, Kayuputi Oil
36 Children’s Exercise Books
60 Ball Point Pens
14 sets of Women's Prayer Clothes
12 Sachet of Corned Beef
24 Sachets of Baby Food
24 Sachets of Milk
10 pcs Scrubbing Brush
24 sachets of floor Cleaning Detergent
5 Bottle of Bathroom Bleach
144 pcs Aircup Water
40 pcs Aircup Tea
5 Boxes of Secondhand Clothes for adults
30 pairs of baby shoes
1 Bucket
5 Water Ladles
30 pcs of Cream Soap
3 Sets of Baby Mattresss & Pillows
3 Baby Bolsters
1 Handpump

The car was loaded up and we made the two hour journey to Garut. There were several local organizations coordinating the operation and we were directed to the main disaster area where we could distribute the supplies.

Even though soldiers and police from Garut and other parts of West Java were already assisting, we were still not prepared for the devastation that we saw. I believe at this moment around thirty four people are confirmed dead with nineteen still missing, and 166 families displaced due to their homes either being washed away or seriously damaged.

We visited Garut three times over the past few days to provide more supplies and cash handouts from donations and from our own pockets. Fortunately the support from many different organizations from the region and beyond has been strong.

Some of the supplies we brought

Entrance to Bojong Sudika Village

Unloading our supplies

All the houses directly adjacent to the river were washed away

Throughout the three days, we saw scores of mattresses either ruined or left out in the hope they would dry out and be usable again. Furniture was often destroyed, but the villagers still hoped that they would dry out. Television sets were dismantled into the picture tube, casing and PC board and left out to dry and hopefully could be used again. Large piles of clothes were everywhere, deep in the mud or in piles outside what remained of homes. Husbands would often hose down sheets and bedcovers and clothes and later their wives would hand wash everything. Very sad to see children's toys or shoes lying in the mud.

Portable Toilets

This man recently finished building his house which you can see behind him. He will have to rebuild part of it again. His house was actually the closest remaining house to the river. Everything in front and on the sides of his house had been washed away.

One of the supporting pillars was damaged and the walls of two rooms had been washed away along with most of his belongings. I didn't see his wife but there was a children playing on the pile of clothes.

This was an emergency tent provided for victims.

This man's small house was still standing but pretty badly messed up inside. He was trying to clean out the mud which was all over the place. Bear in mind that at this village the water had risen to 3m meaning it reached above the top of the walls of his house and into the roof. While I was there he was trying to clean out the small kitchen and bathroom. The task is sometimes futile as many of the small alleys outside were still filled with muddy water which wasn't draining away.

The man standing in his kitchen

This was his bedroom

His children's bedroom and their bunk beds. I am assuming his children survived but I didn't dare ask.

Above the children's bunk beds near the ceiling is a child's kite, still wet from the flood.

Much of his belongings had been washed away, but these are some of the things he managed to salvage.

The man's living room with a mud scraper and a poster of his daughter

This women's house was still standing but the roof was quite damaged. Outside her house you can see a pretty destroyed mattress, a sofa and coffee table and a wardrobe with some books on top. If you look up to just below the roof you can see the 3 metres level where the river reached.

The walls of her house were still soaking wet all the way to the top

The children's bicycles can probably be cleaned up and repaired

The roof supports of her house are made of wood and had started to collapse

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