Indonesia: Floods, landslides to dominate 2019 amid continuing environmental damage

Source(s)
Jakarta Post, the

By Karina M. Tehusijarana

[...]

"We predict that in 2019, over 2,500 natural disaster will occur across Indonesia," National Disaster Mitigation Agency (BNPB) spokesperson Sutopo Purwo Nugroho told reporters on Monday. "Hydrometeorological disasters such as floods, landslides and puting beliung [small tornadoes] will continue to dominate and make up about 95 percent of total disasters."

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Sutopo said deforestation and damage to watersheds had contributed to the increasing number of hydrometeorological disasters over the years. The high level of critical land, which the Forestry and Environment Ministry defines as land that has ecologically reduced function, was also a contributing factor.

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But while geological disasters like earthquakes and subsequent tsunamis made up only 3.2 percent of the natural disasters that hit the country last year, they were responsible for 92.9 percent of the total death toll of 3,349 people.

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Sutopo said that most regional administrations and Indonesians in general were not yet equipped to face major natural disasters.

"A 2012 study on the readiness index of every regency and city in Indonesia shows that every region has a very low readiness level," he said. "Knowledge about disasters has increased since then, but policies, emergency response plans, early warnings and resource mobilization remain minimal."

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