Indonesia sees highest number of natural disasters in 10 years

The Jakarta Post 14 Nov 16;

Indonesia was hit with 1,985 natural disasters from Jan.1 to Nov.11, the highest in 10 years. Disaster numbers are expected to increase due to unstable hydrological conditions, the National Disaster Mitigation Agency (BNPB) has said.

The agency predicts Indonesia will face more natural disasters until January next year because of this year’s strong La NiƱa weather phenomenon, which has caused heavy rains and extensive flooding across the nation.

“Regions previously unaffected by natural disasters are now susceptible to calamities. Several areas in Bandung, West Java, for example, have flooded on account of not being able to accommodate extremely large volumes of rain,” said BNPB spokesman Sutopo Purwo Nugroho in a data released on Sunday.

The BNPB states 659 out of the 1,985 natural disasters were floods, followed by whirlwinds and landslides, which reached 572 and 485 incidents, respectively.

It further says the disasters have affected 2.52 million people, 375 of whom have died and 383 were injured in the incidents.

Although there is still one month left before the end of the year, the BNPB data, which records 1,985 natural calamities, suggests that 2016 is the most devastating year Indonesia has seen in the last 10 years. The second-worst year was 2014, during which the country suffered 1,967 disasters.

“We predict rainfall will increase until it peaks in January next year. Our data shows that in Indonesia, January is the month with the most disasters,” Sutopo said. (adt/ebf)

2016 ‘year of natural disasters’
Andi Hajramurni, Jon Afrizal, and Rizal Harahap The Jakarta Post 15 Nov 16;

The National Disaster Mitigation Agency (BNPB) has declared 2016 “a year of natural disasters”, as deteriorating weather caused an abnormally high number of floods and landslides across the archipelago. Hundreds of people have been killed, while millions have been displaced.

The agency recorded 1,985 natural disaster incidents from January to Nov. 11, already making 2016 the worst year in more than a decade. In the past 10 years, the highest annual figure was 1,967 in 2014.

“More flash floods, tornadoes and landslides are predicted to come, as precipitation will continue to rise until December,” BNPB spokesman Sutopo Purwo Nugroho said on Monday.

According to the agency’s data, natural disasters in 2016 claimed the lives of 375 people, while 383 others were injured and 2.52 million displaced.

In Bone regency, South Sulawesi, a joint search and rescue team on Monday was still looking for two people reported missing in Sunday’s flash flood near Merungnge River in Palakka district.

The two were identified as Ashar Syahputra, 17, and Ridwan Gunawan, 20. The body of 26-year-old Musdalifah was found on Sunday some 3 kilometers from the site of the flash flood.

Search and rescue officer Andi Sultan said the number of fatalities was not yet known.

The river was only recently turned into a recreational site. More than 100 visitors were swept away by the strong current of water up to 4 meters deep when the flash flood struck.

As of 9:30 p.m. on the day, 96 people were found alive up to 6 kilometers from the site.

Bone Regency Disaster Mitigation Agency (BPBD) head Bahar Kadir said the flash flood had been triggered by heavy rain for several hours in the river’s upstream area.

In the province of Riau, meanwhile, floods and landslides hit a number of areas on Monday morning following days of heavy rain.

In Rokan Hulu regency, at least 700 houses in four subdistricts were inundated in water of up to a meter due to the overflowing rivers Batang Lubuh, Aliantan and Teriak.

Flooding also hit Bengkalis district of Bengkalis regency, inundating some 300 houses and four schools in Teluk Latak subdistrict and forcing the authorities to send the students home.

In Kampar regency, heavy downpours caused a landslide at the trans-Sumatra highway, paralyzing the main road connection between Riau and West Sumatra.

Heavy rain on Sunday afternoon increased the number of floods in the city of Bandung and on the Cikampek toll road.

The BNPB said those floods, too, were due to overflowing rivers. Apart from damaging cars, houses and the archive building of the Cicendo hospital, the floods disrupted railway operations.

Bandung Police spokeswoman Comr. Reny Martha said the flash floods had hit Pagarsih, Arjuna, Sarijadi, Gegerkalong and Pasirkoja.

She added the water had inundated houses in the affected areas by up to 1.6 meters but quickly subsided an hour later, reported.

Bandung train station was also inundated for hours, disrupting operations for two hours.

“The railway tracks have been inundated in water since noon, so trains were halted in the stations of Cikudapateuh and Ciroyom,” said Ilud Siregar, a spokesperson of state-owned railway company PTKA.

In the province of Jambi, heavy rain in a number of regions caused an increase in the water level of the Batanghari River.

Residents, administrations gear up for disasters amid extreme weather
Agnes Anya The Jakarta Post 15 Nov 16;

Heavy rains and strong winds in the past week have forced residents and administrations in Greater Jakarta to gear up for rain-related disasters such as floods.

A resident of Tangerang city Aloisia Joanne said she never left her sandals and raincoat behind when she left her house after being trapped in the middle of a thunderstorm a couple of days ago. She said she had been on Jl. MH Thamrin in Cikokol of Tangerang when the storm broke.

“I was shocked because I had never seen the road inundated that severely before,” Ane said.

Meanwhile, Muhammad Ridlo, 24, a resident of Lubang Buaya in East Jakarta, delayed his return trip to Jakarta from Jatinangor, West Java, after learning that floods had brought the Cikampek toll road in Bekasi to a complete standstill on Sunday evening.

A number of other places were severely inundated due to thunderstorms that struck all areas of Greater Jakarta.

As many as 800 residents of 1,000 houses in the Total Persada residential complex in Periuk, Tangerang, had to be evacuated to a nearby mosque and sports hall after 2-meter-high waters inundated the housing complex.

Cloudbursts in Greater Jakarta as well as water runoff from upstream areas such as Bogor in West Java, had contributed to the floods, said Tangerang Mitigation Agency head Irman Pujahendra. As of Monday evening, the Total Persada complex was still inundated by 1.5-meter-high waters.

The agency is teaming up with local police in order to mitigate the flood and the victims by deploying 14 boats for the evacuation and 12 water pumps to ease the flooding, he added.

He called on Tangerang residents to remain alert amid the extreme weather while also taking good care of their environment, by managing their garbage and cleaning sewers.

Meteorology, Climatology and Geophysics Agency (BMKG) head Yunus S. Swarinoto also confirmed recent extreme weather in several regions in Indonesia triggered by unstable atmospheric conditions.

According to the BMKG’s predictions these conditions will lead to increasingly intense thunderstorms and possible thunder and lightning until the end of November.

The rainy season would peak between November and early 2017, he said, adding that residents must anticipate any possible disasters, such as floods, landslides and fallen trees, given the current weather phenomena.

Heavy downpours also caused at least a dozen trees to fall in the capital recently, damaging a number of vehicles and public facilities.

Jakarta Disaster Mitigation Agency provides a hotline service at 112 to accept any emergency calls from residents related to disasters. (van)