Indonesia: Floods destroy thousands of hectares of farmland

Rizal Harahap, The Jakarta Post 26 Jan 16;

The floods affecting a number of regions in Riau, Aceh and Bali have not only engulfed residential areas but also thousands of hectares of farmland, currently causing widespread crop failure.

In Kuantan Singingi regency, Riau, 1,012 hectares of rice fields have been destroyed after being swamped by floods since early January.

“The seedlings have just been planted, but they have been engulfed by flood water for weeks and have died,” said Kuantan Singingi Agriculture and Food Crop Office head Maisir on Monday.

To relieve the burden on farmers, the office has requested seedling assistance from the Riau Agriculture Office and the Agriculture Ministry.

“We have proposed the immediate provision of seedlings from the National Seedling Reserve so that farmers can immediately replant their crops,” said Maisir.

In Rokan Hulu regency, since Jan. 14, floods have engulfed more than 25 hectares of gogo rain-dependent rice crops in Rokan Timur village, Rokan IV Koto district.

As many as 17 hectares of rice crops between 120 and 130 days old have been damaged after being swept flat by the swollen river.

“The total area of gogo rice paddies in Rokan IV Koto district is 1,032 hectares. The other areas were spared by the floods. Those swept by floods are located close to the river basin area,” said Rokan Hulu Food Crop and Horticulture Office head Mubrizal.

Although not as seriously hit as Kuantan Singingi, Mubrizal expressed hope the Riau Agriculture Office would help to provide new seedlings for farmers.

“We have submitted a proposal to the province, but have yet to receive a reply,” he added.

In Bali, the Buleleng Disaster Mitigation Agency (BPBD) has provided four makeshift tents to accommodate flood evacuees in Musi and Penyabangan villages, in Gerokgak district, northern Bali.

“The tents are in anticipation of evacuees with no relatives in the area,” said Buleleng BPBD head Ketut Yasa in Singaraja on Monday.

Yasa added that based on data gathered by the district office, a total of 92 homes in both villages were damaged and destroyed.

“In Musi village, the flash flood destroyed seven homes and caused minor damage to dozens of others. Around 50 families were forced to evacuate. Meanwhile in Penyabangan village, eight homes were destroyed and dozens moderately damaged. Around 36 families there have been evacuated,” said Yasa.

In Aceh, the Central Aceh regency BPBD advised residents living at the flood and landslide locations in Kerawang village, Rusip Antara district, Central Aceh, to evacuate at least for the time being.

“We fear the landslide and mudflow potential remains given the high rainfall,” said Central Aceh BPBD head Jauhari, during a disaster-site inspection and relief aid distribution on Sunday.

He added that the number of evacuees from the landslide and mudslide on Jan. 23 had increased from 12 to 15 families.

Nine other families have evacuated to the homes of relatives or friends willing to accommodate them in Pantan Tengah village.

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