Sheltering the homeless after floods in Sentani

Published: 18 Mar 2019

Sheltering the homeless after floods in Sentani

Over the weekend, MAF staff in Sentani, Papua, came to the aid of hundreds of people displaced by devastating flooding and landslides. Many in the community lost family members and between 50-80 people are thought to have died. 

Flash floods hit the town in the Indonesian province of Papua on Saturday triggered by heavy rainfall which also caused a landslide that killed seven people.

Hundreds of people driven from their homes by rising flood waters were forced to relocated up the hill to the mission school where sports gyms have been turned into temporary shelters. 

MAF’s Linda Ringenberg wrote, ‘There are around 300 or so refugees who have been staying at the school gym since last night, and many more who have been staying at the Wycliffe complex. Both areas have been quite busy today caring for the wounded, giving clothes to those who needed them and feeding them breakfast, lunch and dinner.’

‘The government, churches, and even local restaurants were evaluating needs and bringing boxes of donated clothing, food, and other supplies. Many of these people have lost loved ones.'Linda Ringenberg

‘The government, churches, and even local restaurants all were at the school today [Sunday]’ Linda continues, ‘evaluating needs and bringing boxes of donated clothing, food, and other supplies for the people. Many of these people have lost loved ones, and tonight our school official has authorized the authorities to bring up the bodies of those who have been found from the local neighbourhood to have a wake tonight and a mass funeral service tomorrow before they are buried. It is very sobering to see so much loss and sorrow.’

Mike Brown, MAF program manager in Papua said, ‘Roads are getting cleared, but there are long waits to go just a few miles. The death toll I’m hearing is between 50 and 80 right now, but that will probably be rising. We are getting reports that at least five of our national staff have had flood damage to their houses. Some with a couple feet of mud inside their homes.’

Evrin Pratama, one of our MAF national engineers, lost his home due to a landslide and the family was very close to being trapped inside the house.  Evrin and his family are now staying on the MAF base in the guesthouse.

For Mike and the MAF Sentani team it has been encouraging to see the church and mission community come together to meet the needs of stranded, suffering locals. ‘It was awesome to see our staff and their kids jumping in and helping out in any way they could. A lot of people in the community received shelter and food in their time of need. Christ’s love was shown by our MAF team and the mission community as they served tirelessly from early morning to well into the evening.’

 'We are getting reports that at least five of our national staff have had flood damage to their houses. Some with a couple feet of mud inside their homes.’ Mike Brown