Flash floods wreak havoc in Bali over the festive season

Mud, branches and debris blocked the bridge over Bilukpoh River, causing 11-hour delays. Photo: Facebook/Komang Budaarsa
Mud, branches and debris blocked the bridge over Bilukpoh River, causing 11-hour delays. Photo: Facebook/Komang Budaarsa

Torrential downpours caused the Bilukpoh River in Jembrana to burst its banks late on Saturday night. The resulting flash floods swept away dozens of homes, blocked up a bridge, and caused 11-hour tailbacks on the Denpasar-Gilimanuk road.

According to a report in Tribun Bali, as many as 48 households have been uprooted from their homes in Tegal Cangkring and Penyaringan villages after the weekend’s flash flooding. Local resident Kadek Suryawan, 40, said that when the flooding broke out at around 11.30pm, village officials immediately alerted residents to the situation by sounding the kul-kul (traditional bamboo bell used to call the community). “People started scattering out of houses to save themselves,” Kadek told Nusa Bali.

Thankfully, there were no human casualties, despite extensive damage to homes, vehicles, and other belongings. “In addition to buildings being washed away, there was damage to walls, electronic goods, and loss of livestock,” said Village Head I Kade Winastra to the source.

Mud is reported to have reached 70 centimeters high in some homes, and the task of dredging the dirt fell upon a 100-strong team of military personnel, who worked even as the rain continued to fall.

Jembrana Disaster Mitigation Agency and Red Cross teams have erected an emergency refugee camp for the villagers affected by the crisis. The facility has been set up in Tegal Cankring village, with public kitchens, toilets and beds for the displaced families.

I Ketut Eko Susila AP, Chief Executive of Jembrana Disaster Mitigation Agency, said that they had already received food and other donations from a number of sources.

“At this time assistance has continued to come in the form of blankets, mattresses and some other basic equipment,” he told Tribun Bali.

The extreme weather conditions also caused damage to local infrastructure. Branches, debris, and a thick layer of mud washed up from the overflowing river, blocked the Bilukpoh Bridge and paralyzed traffic flow on the Denpasar-Gilimanuk main road for 11 hours. According to a separate report in Nusa Bali, a large tree trunk had obstructed the road and vehicles weren’t able to move until Sunday morning, when the cleanup operation began.

After initial safety checks by the National Road Implementation Center, the bridge has been opened up to the public again.

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