Early Warning as Regional Guide for Disaster Vigilance
With extreme weather having the potential to turn into a disaster in a matter of hours, emergency alerts crucially need to be extended down to the district level.
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JAKARTA, KOMPAS — In the face of the rainy season, which is expected to last until February next year, a number of regions have begun taking precautionary measures. Disaster-prone areas, types of risk and the expected impacts are mapped out as part of early warning procedures to minimize the extent of life and property losses.
Provincial administrations such as West Sumatra and Jakarta have pushed disaster early warning campaigns among regency or municipal and district administrations.
In early October, West Sumatra declared an emergency status for floods, flash floods and landslides, warning the lower administrations to stay vigilant until December.
The measures have been implemented following a report by the Meteorology, Climatology and Geophysics Agency (BMKG) regarding extreme weather.
“Any residents dwelling on hillsides or riverbanks and potentially exposed to the dangers will be evacuated immediately. The equipment is also in store for emergency use," West Sumatra Regional Disaster Management Agency (BPBD) head Erman Rahman said at the weekend.
Regency administrations have also been told to coordinate with the military and police institutions as well as volunteers as part of disaster vigilance.
In Jakarta, a disaster vigilance campaign was launched in mid-October in anticipation of the impact of torrential rain. Drainage and retention basins have been dredged and water pumps have been prepared in anticipation for water logging, as was the case on Sunday after heavy rains (11/8/2021).
Governor Anies Baswedan once stated that the capital city's drainage basins would be unable to hold to water runoff from Puncak, Bogor, to the south of Jakarta, if it coincided with tidal flooding in northern coastal Jakarta.
Hydrometeorological disasters have been increasing in Indonesia. Data at the Operation Control Center of the National Disaster Management Agency (BNPB) show there were 157 disasters in September. Over 80 percent of them were floods, landslides, cyclones and tidal waves. The rest were drought and forest fires.
The incidents claimed 11 lives, injured 20 and a further five were missing. As many as 245,839 people were displaced. Over 80 percent of the fatalities were because of floods.
Entering November, the frequency of disasters climbed. Flash floods hit a number of areas, such as in the Batu and Malang regencies in East Java on Thursday (4/11). A total of seven people died, dozens of houses were damaged and residents were forced to evacuate.
BMKG head of the center for public meteorology Fachri Radjab said that weather forecasts were issued routinely and periodically, while early warnings were issued when there was the prospect of extreme weather like heavy rain or strong winds.
Weather forecasts were said to be subject to updating every three hours and disseminated to provincial BMKG offices as meteorological guides. "For example, before heavy rains triggered the flooding in Batu and Malang, there had been weather forecasts and early warnings," he said.
Batu Mayor Dewanti Rumpoko, during a visit to the disaster scene last Thursday, acknowledged the early warning. However, the city administration had not expected the rains to have built to such an extent to cause a fatal disaster.
Our officials remain on standby in anticipation of water blockages in the drainage basins in the case of torrential rains.
The city administration, in coordination with a number of organizations, are preparing to fix the upstream floodplains of the Brantas River on the hillslopes of Mount Arjuno. The flash floods were triggered by the collapse of the naturally formed retention basin in the upstream area.
The disastrous incident in Batu has sent an alarm for greater vigilance throughout the country.
The Bandung municipal administration in West Java has had officials on alert at a number of flood-prone points in the south, west and east of the city. These areas were flooded during heavy rains in early November.
"Our officials remain on standby in anticipation of water blockages in the drainage basins in the case of torrential rains," City Public Works Agency’s head of the water resources division Yul Zulkarnaen said.
Seven retention basins have been built at a number of river points that are prone to overflowing.
The Lampung administration has stepped up its vigilance in seven of the 15 regencies and municipalities with a high risk of disaster. They are West Lampung, Pesisir Barat, Tanggamus, Pesawaran, South Lampung, East Lampung and Bandar Lampung.
"Lampung is vigilant against flooding, landslides and tornadoes," Regional BPBD head Rudi S Sugiarto said.
He said that in Bandar Lampung, the risk of flooding was exacerbated by poor drainage while West Lampung and Tanggamus showed high risks of landslides.
According to a report by the United Nations World Meteorological Organization, hydrometeorological disasters continue to increase and early warning systems are the key to reducing the risk of loss of life.
“Indonesia must strengthen its early warning system because of the increasing trend of disasters. It is imperative that the community and local government use it as a reference for actions," BMKG climate researcher Siswanto said. (JOL/AIK/RTG/BRO/NIT/DIA/HLN/GIO/XTI/VIO)