flood in Keerom
Flood inundated the Arso 2 and Swakarsa area in Keerom Regency. Courtesy of Jubi.

Deforestation leads to flood in Papua’s Arso District


Jayapura, Jubi – Flood inundated Arso District in Keerom Regency on Sunday, July 25, 2021. Following heavy rain, water overflowed from the Tami river and flooded the area with a water level of up to one meter high from Sunday afternoon to evening.


There were no casualties from the flood but the water washed away one electricity pole in the region, causing power outages in the Arso 2 and Swakarsa area. The residents, especially those living on the banks of the river, have been evacuated to anticipate a second and bigger flood, as their stilt houses are vulnerable to being carried away by flood currents.


Watershed and flood management hydrologist Yehuda Hamokwarong of the Cenderawasih University said that Keerom was a wide watershed with three main rivers, namely the Skamto river in the west, the Tami river in the middle, and the Bewani River in the east. “Therefore, the area was indeed waterlogged,” Hamokwarong told Jubi on Monday.



However, Hamokwarong said, the puddle was getting wider and the water level is higher due to deforestation on almost every side at the upstream, downstream, and even at the mouths of the three rivers.


A resident of the Yamta Village in Arso District, Yoakim Rega, said that it was the fourth time he experienced flood in the area this year.


Rega asked the Keerom Administration to immediately build a dike to anticipate flooding in Keerom.

“Please realize the construction of the dike,” he said.


Keerom Regency has seen several floods in the past few years. The most recent one was in February, wherein flood inundated three districts namely Arso, West Arso, and East Arso. The flood prompted 4,406 people to evacuate as 1,155 houses were being flooded.


Jubi tried to contact the Keerom Administration and the Keerom Disaster Management Agency but no response until this report was published.


Reporter: Timoteus Marten

Editor: Kristianto Galuwo

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