16 Feb 2009

Papua church leader encourages development of wambad mounds to combat flooding

4:40 pm on 16 February 2009

A Catholic Archbishop in the Papua region of Indonesia, is encouraging people to return to traditional practices to avert natural disasters.

Archbishop Nicolaus Adi Saputra of Merauke has suggested people return to the practice of building wambad mounds on which sago trees and other crops can be planted, to protect against rising tides.

The archbishop made his comments in the wake of tidal flooding in early January that hit five villages in the Wan subdistrict of Merauke.

The villages were inundated with up to one metre of seawater in the worst flooding in recent years.

It destroyed banana, cassava, coconut and other crops, and according to some reports several thousand villagers

now face a food crisis.

Archbishop Saputra says wambad allow seawater to drain from the land quickly, thus helping to preserve crops.