Several areas of Bali were wracked by strong winds on Sunday, November 11, 2007, leaving more than 200 private residences destroyed in Gianyar and Denpasar. The mini-hurricanes are, in fact, waterspouts and localized wind-shears, that in the current instance, destroyed tens of religious temples, destroyed over 200 homes and are blamed for at least one death, and 22 injuries -10 of which were serious.
Damage in Gianyar
Damage in the shore line areas of Bali's Gianyar regency affected no less than 11 village communities (banjars) in the Ketewel, Batubulan Kangin, Sukawati district and the city of Gianyar. In the Ketewel area the following banjars suffered damage: Kubur, Gumicik, Tengah, Puseh, Luglug, Umanyar, Paekan and Pamesan. In the Batubulan Kangin area the Banjars of Kenanga, Puseh and Tangkeban were hit by the high winds.
An eyewitness told the Bali Post of mass panic shortly after 3 a.m. on Sunday (Nov, 11th) when winds flattened beachside village homes and residences, causing walls to crumble and roofs to be torn from buildings. Local residents reportedly scrambled out of their homes and onto the streets as their homes began to collapse around them.
In the days following the wind storm the affected areas received visits by President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyo, Governor Made Beratha and local Regents - all of whom ordered complete inventories of damage be undertaken to clear the way for an organized relief effort.
Damage was also reported in Bali's capital of Denpasar where more than 100 homes, businesses and a number of religious temples were damaged in North and West parts of the Capital. Affected were the villages of Padang Sambian Kaja and Pemecutan Kaja.
The sole fatality attributed to the storm took place on Jalan Gatot Subroto in North Denpasar where a local man, Made Wijana, was killed by a falling tree while making milk deliveries on his motorbike.
NusaBali reports that on the Monday following the incident community assistance teams bringing medicine, medical teams and basic food items were seen working in the affected areas, offering assistance to the more than 255 family who were displaced by the storm.
In keeping with the profound spirituality of the people of Bali, on the Monday after the disaster religious rituals attended by more than 1,000 households were organized by local villagers.
A Harrowing Experience
The personal experience of 43 year-old I Made Mideh of Banjar Kubur in Ketewel is perhaps emblematic of the suffering of many of the storm's victims. Mideh lost two separate dwellings that served as home to his wife and three children. Family shrines that surrounded the living structures were also destroyed. During the storm, Mideh's wife and two of his children were temporarily trapped in the ruins of one building, but were eventually rescued by a group of concerned neighbors.
A local resident of Ketewel told the press of a 10 minute long violent rotating wind storm that that coincided with the explosion of a local pole-mounted electrical substation. Awoken in the dark of night, many residents mistakenly associated the sound of the explosion and the winds with a tsunami and ran in search of higher ground.
Officials of Bali's meteorological department told NusaBali that water spouts and downbursts, such as those that struck Bali on November 11, are normal weather phenomena occuring during the transitional period from the dry to wet seasons. Not to be confused with tropical storms or cyclones which can last for days, the water spouts and downbursts last for only a matter of minutes with very localized patterns of damage.
The destructive events usually occur in the vicinity of cumulonimbus cloud formations; and are accompanied by thunderstorms, lighting and heavy rains with short bursts of wind reaching as high as 200 kilometers per hour often recorded.
The major tourism areas of Bali were not affected by the recent storms; most tourists totally unaware of the localized wind storms occuring elsewhere on the Island.
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