NTT governor fires ‘unresponsive’ local disaster agency head following fatal flash floods

Tropical cyclone Seroja triggered deadly flash floods and landslides in Nusa Tenggara islands and neighboring East Timor. Photo: BNPB
Tropical cyclone Seroja triggered deadly flash floods and landslides in Nusa Tenggara islands and neighboring East Timor. Photo: BNPB

The head of the regional disaster management agency (BPBD) in East Nusa Tenggara (NTT) was removed from his position this week, after the governor said he had been “unresponsive” amid deadly flash floods and landslides that killed at least 138 people and drove thousands out of their homes on Sunday. 

The firing was confirmed by NTT regional secretary Benediktus Polo Maing, who said that NTT BPBD Head Thomas Bangke’s termination letter has been signed by Governor Viktor Laiskodat. Viktor has appointed Isyak Nuka, who previously headed the province’s Transportation Agency, to helm the post.  

Tropical cyclone Seroja triggered catastrophic flash floods and landslides in Nusa Tenggara islands and neighboring East Timor on Sunday, killing at least 138 people in the former region alone as of this morning, according to data from the National Disaster Mitigation Agency (BNPB). The events not only inundated homes, but also destroyed bridges and roads in the affected areas. 

Related ⁠— Tropical cyclone Seroja the strongest Indonesia has seen in 13 years: official

Viktor has declared a state of emergency alert for NTT, as relief efforts continue. 

According to reports, Viktor also reprimanded Kupang Regent Korinus Masneno because of slow disaster response and poor data collection for victims and affected areas in his region. 

“What happened in Kupang is why we are forced to intervene. We don’t want any NTT resident to face more problems because [officials] don’t tend to them,” Viktor was quoted as saying.

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