Indonesia hit by series of natural disasters

During October, natural disasters including floods, landslides and tornados assaulted Indonesia in the regions of Java, Sumatra, Kalimantan, Sulawesi, Maluku and others, affecting tens of thousands of residents, with deaths and widespread damages to property.

Landslide in Sukabumi, West Java. Photo credit: BPBD

The National Disaster Management Agency (BNPB) noted at least 227 natural disasters, what were known as wet hydrometeorological disasters, in October. Flooding was the most common, followed by landslides and extreme weather. 

Officials evacuate residents during a flood in West Kotawaringin, Central Kalimantan. Photo credit: BPBD

In South Lampung, for example, on October 27, three persons died and one was missing in a flood which affected four sub-districts of Sidamulya, Kitabung, Candipulo and Kalianda. The flood also submerged 697 houses and forced 200 residents to evacuate.

On October 24 in Sukabumi, West Java, three persons died in a landslide at Ciletik Village, Sukabumi. According to the Rapid Response Team (TRC), Sukabumi Regional Disaster Management Agency (BPBD), the landslide was caused by loosen soil due to water seepage from a public fishing pond and recent heavy rains which compounded the problem. A day before, a landslide in Tulungagung, East Java claimed three lives.

Flood in Central Kalimantan. Photo credit: BPBD

Since October 14, several floods have hit West Kotawaringin Regency, Central Kalimantan, displacing 7,533 residents. On October 23, torrential rains flooded Jambi, Merangin Regency, and displace 1,034 residents and destroyed 242 houses and two places of worship. On October 23, tornados ripped through parts of Sidoarjo, damaging 294 houses, a school and a commercial building. 

On October 18, floods and landslides in Malang, East Java. because the main road was cut off, rescue teams could not reach parts of the affected areas. In Sitiarjo Village, Sumbermanjing Wetan District, water level rose two meters. Wahyu Pratomo, a turtle activist caught in a flood at Ungapan beach in Bajulmati Sea Turtle Conservation, said the monitoring tower there collapsed and many trees were uprooted. “This flood is the biggest in the history of Bajulmati,” he said.

Trees fell due to strong winds in Sidoarjo. Photo credit: BPBD

The list of natural disasters went on.

BNPB appealed to regional officials to increase disaster preparedness, and have emergency plans in place, including fast response teams standing by, evacuation protocols, cutting tree branches, strengthening the structures of houses and building, among others. 

Abdul Muhari, head, Disaster Data, Information and Communication Center, added that in case of strong winds, all residents are advised to avoid taking shelter in old buildings, under billboards and trees. Major General Suharyanto, head of BNPB also appealed to the public to be vigilant and to the provincial and regional governments to be ready and coordinate well in the event of a disaster.  

According to the Meteorology, Climatology, and Geophysics Agency, extreme weather will continue through to the end of the year.

Damaged houses caused by flood. Photo credit: BNPB

Top photo credit: Basarnas. Officials evacuate residents caught by flash floods in Karawang.

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