Lightning Kills as Wild Seas Unearth Tombs


Huge waves that have been eroding the beaches of northern Karangasem in continuing wild La Ni?a weather invaded 14 graves at Tianyar, dragging bodies into the sea.

East Tianyar village secretary Gede Swadi called in Karangasem Regent I Wayan Made Sukerana Geredeg to assess the damage for himself. He hopes the village will get extra assistance to combat worsening beach erosion.

Swadi said most Tianyar villagers were poor people who could not afford to build proper tombs and in any case the seas had been so fierce that even concrete would have been undermined or broken up.

The wave line has moved inland by at least 20 metres in the past three years in the area. This week waves have been running to two metres or more, very unusually for the northern end of the Lombok Strait which does not have the Indian Ocean swells that feature further south along the east Bali coastline.

Regent Geredeg said after his visit that the regency would try to help.

At the other end of Bali, in Jembrana, a fierce thunderstorm cost two Mendoyo women their lives when a lightning bolt blew apart the small open hut they had taken refuge in, stripping them naked and hurling their burned bodies many metres into the ricefield, where neighbours retrieved their sprawled remains later.

They were Ni Made Karti, 58, and Ni Made Pariyanti, 40, who had gone to the field to pull weeds from the crop. Tragically, Karti’s husband Wayan Werka saw the fatal strike, which also destroyed the hut.

He said: “Karti was holding the hut pole and sitting close to Pariyanti. When the lightning struck the pole collapsed, they bounced on the ground and then flew through the air into the middle of the ricefield.”

The storm also left two nearby villages flooded.

Torrential rains cut many roads in northern Gianyar regency when landslides swept across them and trees were felled by strong winds.

Houses and a temple damaged and the main Chedi-Kintamani road was closed when a section of the roadway collapsed.

Heavy rain also fell in the Sukawati area and many other parts of Gianyar and neighbouring areas.

Ferry services between Bali and Lombok were an on-again, off-again affair when big seas and high winds in the Lombok Strait triggered automatic decisions to cancel sailings on safety grounds.

Waves in mid-strait were reported to be 3.5 metres and more and winds up to 45km/h.

Extreme weather and bad environmental practices are being blamed for 29 separate natural disasters in Bali in January. The Disaster Prevention and Control Centre listed six floods, two storm tides, two landslides, 13 minor tornadoes and six fires. They killed five people, injured 15 and damaged 57 homes.

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