Wasior is one of three sub-districts in Teluk Wondama district which suffered the greatest damage after the flood occurring on 4 October 2010. The disaster that claimed hundreds of lives occurred in the morning at 08.00 CEST when the residents were getting ready for their daily activities. According to the data from the Wasior emergency post on 16 October 2010, as many as 153 people were killed, 158 missing, 165 seriously injured, and 2862 other people suffered minor injuries.
Dr. Ali Awaludin, professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering Department Faculty of Engineering, UGM, who recently visited the disaster site recounted the story as told by witnesses that in the beginning the flood brought sand or mud and followed by trunks of trees and later boulders.
In addition, his observation at the site proved that the trunks of trees are very large in size, 1 meter diameter or more of a tree is 20 meters in length. The trees were no longer fresh but fragile for some time, they might have beeen dead for a year before the flooding. They appeared full with roots. "These findings certainly dismissed allegations that illegal logging has caused the flood on 4 October," Ali said on Friday (22/10).
Ali added that the trees found around the river might be caused by many things, among others, age, disease due to fungal or termite attack, and erosion of layer of soil around the roots. The trees collapsed into the river and blocked the waterflowr. Fluctuations in river water levels fastened the decay of the trunks. Cumulative accumulation of the fallen trees caused the greater volume of the river water being blocked. "Eight hours before the flood, heavy rains flushed Wasior and eventually destroyed the tree dams, washing it away with mud, sand, and boulders," said the person who earned his doctorate from the University of Hokkaido, Japan.
Wasior is situated at the foot of the mountain and directly adjacent to the Wondama Bay, West Papua Province. Wasior and others lie in the direction of the Wondama Bay and each separated by a river. The recent flood caused the overflow of streams material and destroyed many school buildings, offices, houses, and bridges. A concrete bridge in the village of Rado was broken into three parts and all of which drifted up to tens of meters away.
According to some residents, it was not the first. Several years earlier, Wasior had also hit by flood several times, although the level of damage were less severe. This information would need to be studied further to find the evidence, for example from soil or rock layer, so that the decision made on rehabilitation or relocation can be more reasonable. If the structure of the geo-morphological and geological condition of Wasior continue to be vulnerable to floods, the choice of relocation needs to be pursued.
"Until now, since some people remain in the disaster area, relying on food and medicine provided by the government or those brought directly by volunteers, the possibility of rehabilitation or relocation can be an option," said Ali, who was awarded the Japan Research Wood Society (JWRS) Progress Award 2009 from the Japan Research Wood Society.
He added, local governments need to develop rehabilitation plans that are adaptive to the environment, particularly the potential of flooding. Thus, the loss caused by subsequent floods can be minimized. For example, the houses around the river are made a stage construction, so in case of overflows, the floors are not immediately immersed. If necessary, each house is equipped with a boat that will be useful in extreme conditions.
Since such a construction is very difficult to make and expensive, maintenance of the river and surrounding area on a regular basis needs to be done to minimize the volume of materials that may be washed away by the flood. "Moreover, according to the residents, the stage home is indeed the original house in Wasior which now began to dissappear with modernization," Ali added.