Indonesian VP visits flood-hit Nias as death toll hits 95


Indonesia’s new Vice President Hamzah Haz paid a flying visit to the island of Nias Tuesday to meet with refugees from last week’s floods and landslides which killed at least 95 people and left more than 160 missing, an official said.

“Mr. Vice President has already left again for Medan. He stayed for only one hour,” said T. Zega of Nias’ Binaka airport.

Zega said that on hand to greet the vice president in front of the passenger terminal was the governor of North Sumatra, Rizal Nurdin, who had flown in with several officials and officers from Medan, the capital of North Sumatra, earlier in the day.

The vice president also met with some 150 survivors of the storm-triggered disaster, which struck the small island off the northwestern coast of Sumatra in the early hours of Aug. 1.

The refugees, representing several hundred who had lost their homes and loved ones in the floods and landslides, had travelled to Binaka the previous day, an official at the disaster coordinating office in Nias said.

During the meeting Haz offered a cheque for 200 million rupiah (US$21,052), he said.

Health Minister Ahmad Suyudi, who accompanied Haz, also handed over 512 million rupiah in cash aid, said the official who did not want to give his name.

Haz did not leave the airport, and departed at 103 p.m. (0613 GMT) after talks with provincial and district officials, according to Zega.

The vice president’s visit came as another 11 bodies were found Tuesday, bringing the death toll from the disaster to 95.