963 Villages Hit by Long Drought: Disaster Agency
Date 15 Juli 2019
As many as 963 villages, 556 sub-districts, and 79 districts are affected by this years long drought, the National Disaster Management Agency (BNPB) has reported.
“Regions affected by the drought are the islands of Java and Bali, West Nusa Tenggara province, and East Nusa Tenggara province,” said BNPB Doni Monardo on Monday (15/7).
Doni added that a number of regions have asked the Central Government to create artificial rain to overcome severe drought in their regions and in response to that President Joko Jokowi Widodo has instructed the BNPB to prepare the artificial rain assistance.
[To carry out the task,] the BNPB needs to work with the Meteorology, Climatology, and Geophysics Agency (BMKG), the Agency for Assessment and Application of Technology (BPPT) and the National Defense Forces (TNI), Doni said, adding that weather modification technology also depends on clouds because artificial rain will only work during cloudy days.
For medium and long term solution, Doni suggested regional leaders to prepare tree seedlings and plant trees so people can protect the environment and ensure availability of water sources. According to him, certain types of trees have the ability to store water, such as breadfruit.
“If each village has enough breadfruit, they can have adequate water sourcea as breadfruit roots can bind water. Another example is palm trees, he said.
Regarding forest and land fires, Doni stated that President Jokowi stressed the importance of prevention. “Prevention is far better than extinguishment,” he said quoting the Presidents statement.
He went on to say that assistance from the Indonesian National Defense Forces (TNI9, the National Police (Polri), volunteers, universities, scholars, influential figures in the regions, and cultural experts are crucial in fire prevention programs.
“Each province has an allocation of around 1,512 joint personnel. They will carry out dissemination about the importance of forest and land fires prevention efforts. This is of particular importance because data shows that almost 99% of the forest and land fires are caused by humans, Doni said, adding that once fires happen, it will be very difficult to extinguish them because most of the lands are peat lands with the depth of more than 20 meters or even 36 meters.
Every personnel involved in this task force, Doni continued, receives an incentive of Rp145,000 and they work with villages leaders and stay overnight in the village as an approach to local residents so that they are no longer engaged in burning land activities.
Regarding law enforcement, Doni said that have been 16 land-burning cases processed by the police to date and that law enforcement is the last step taken if prevention efforts do not work.
He further that there have been 5 provinces so far that declare emergency status on forest and land fires, namely Riau province, South Sumatra province, Central Kalimantan province, South Kalimantan province, and West Kalimantan province. (FID / JAY / ES)
Translated by: Estu Widyamurti
Edited by: Muhardi/ M.Ersan Pamungkas