Balikpapan Flooding

Very strange day yesterday. It started raining at about 4am. Nothing unusual there but it wasn’t a light drizzle; no, it was a full on torrent from the skies. So, I put my ear plugs in and went back to sleep.

As I had the day off, I woke up about 8am. Still raining. Walked over the road for some breakfast (well ran actually, and still got pretty wet) and took another shower on the way back to my house. At about 11am I get a txt message from the Balikpapan base manager to say our office needed help as there was water coming into the house. I knew it was at the bottom of the hill but didn’t realise it was prone to flooding. So a few off us headed down there to lend a hand moving things upstairs. The photos below tell the story:

Start of the road where our office/house is in

Further down the road
Always handy to have an umbrella
Back door to the house
Inside
Inside
Inside
Heading back up the hill

We were there about an hour and managed to rescue most of the documents and expensive items to upstairs. The water level when we arrived was just below waist height and rose about a foot (30cm) in the time we were there. It was still rising throughout the day, even after the rain stopped.

All in all, it was something I’d never expected to see out here in a major city such as Balikpapan. It was like being in a real life news story! What really struck me was how calm most people were. Loads of people just sitting on walls or roofs greeting us as we came and went. In any western country, this would have been a national emergency but here in Indonesia, it was just another day.

Matt Dearden

Matt Dearden

English born professional pilot, writer, blogger and columnist. Currently flying the Pilatus PC-6 Turbo Porter in Papua, Indonesia.

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