Aceh Loses Hundreds of Hectares of Crops due to Floods
At least 4,900 hectares of rice paddies across North Aceh regency, Aceh, were flooded, with 259 ha confirmed to be ruined. More crops will be damaged if the flood does not subside.
BANDA ACEH, KOMPAS - At least 4,900 hectares of rice paddies across North Aceh regency, Aceh, have been flooded, ruining crops in several areas. Floods have also cut off the Trans-Kalimantan highway. North Aceh was hit by floods for a week, where homes in 142 villages across 14 subdistricts were submerged in floodwaters up to 1 meter high. Flood water levels reached 2 meters in the rice fields.
Most of the flooded paddies were planted with rice of varying ages. Though there were fields that have entered the harvesting period, floods reduced the quality of the harvested rice.
North Aceh acting agricultural agency head Erwandi said that 4,900 ha of rice paddies were flooded, with 259 ha confirmed to be ruined. More crops will be damaged if the flood does not subside.
“Paddies cannot survive floods. Three days of inundation can result in crop failure,” said Erwandi, when contacted from Banda Aceh on Wednesday (12/10/2022).
If the average productivity of rice paddies is 5.7 tonnes per hectare, North Aceh lost 1,476 tonnes of rice production because of the 259 ha that were destroyed. Based on a selling price of Rp 5,600 (36 US cents) per kilogram of rice, farmers lost about Rp 8.2 billion in income.
“We ask the Agriculture Ministry to help us with seeds, fertilizers and supplies for our farmers,” said Erwandi.
When contacted separately, Laila Nazirah, head of the Agroecotechnology Masters program at Malikussaleh University in Lhokseumawe, Sumatra, said that crop failure does not only cause farmers to lose income but also causes them to lose hope in the improvement of welfare. The government must find a long-term solution to keep floods from recurring and devastating farmers.
“In addition to flood mitigation, it is necessary to consider the use of varieties that are more resistant to flooding. Farmers should also be aided with fertilizers and seeds,” said Laila.
Previously, acting North Aceh Regent Azwardi said that floods in North Aceh were not ordinary disasters as they occurred every year. Moreover, floods have intensified and have occurred two to three times a year in the last few years.
Flood management, according to Azwardi, must be carried out by joint cooperations between the district, provincial and central governments.
In Katingan regency, Central Kalimantan, flood water levels reached as high as 4 m. Tens of thousands of people have been affected by the flood, with some fleeing to relatives’ houses outside the village.
According to Kompas records, floods have occurred since the dry season between July to August. Now, Central Kalimantan has just entered the rainy season with extreme weather.
Based on data from the Central Kalimantan Disaster and Fire Mitigation Agency (BPBDK), floods have hit five districts: Katingan, East Kotawaringin, Seruyan, Pulang Pisau and Lamandau.
Floods have inundated 93 villages across 20 subdistricts. A total of 9,705 families or 21,835 people have been affected.
Katingan Regional Disaster Mitigation Agency (BPBD) head Roby explained that flood water levels have reached 4 m in Kasongan Port and continues to rise. Water that overflowed from the Katingan river has submerged houses, reaching up to 1.5 min height.
The Trans-Kalimantan highway was still cut off due to flooding.
In Lamandau, floods have inundated six subdistricts, affecting 31 villages and 1,302 families or 3,891 people. This figure only continues to grow as floods become widespread across the province.
The Lamandau BPBD has set up refugee camps and soup kitchens at several safe points for residents affected by the floods.
Lamandau BPBD rehabilitation and reconstruction head Joni Hardi said that until now, the Trans-Kalimantan highway was still cut off due to flooding. Two-wheeled vehicles must be loaded onto canoes in order to pass, whereas cars cannot pass at all.
The Trans-Kalimantan highway connects Central Kalimantan to West Kalimantan and is a route used to transport the production of oil palm companies and the products of surrounding communities’ plantations to Nanga Bulik, Lamandau’s capital, as well as West Kotawaringin.
The flood has also cut off the Trans-Kalimantan highway in Nanga Tayap district, Ketepang regency, West Kalimantan. Logistics trucks were stuck there for four days because floodwaters reached a height of 1 m.
Gino (45), a logistics truck driver who transports basic necessities, claimed that the operation costs had increased due to additional food costs of Rp 100,000 per day.
Floods were also reported in Sorong, West Papua. It is estimated that more than 1,000 families across six districts and subdistricts have been affected by floods reaching up to 1.5 m.
“Some of the displaced residents have returned to their homes because the water has begun to recede. We are still monitoring the six inundated districts,” said Sorong BPBD logistics s Donatus Rahanau, when contacted from Jayapura.
Acting Sorong Mayor George Yarangga stated that his party would coordinate with the West Papua provincial administration for flood mitigation measures. In addition to revitalizing waterways, his party also plans to build artificial canals.
“Acting West Papua Governor Paulus Waterpauw gave instructions on flood management. We will hold a meeting to discuss solutions to mitigate floods that have repeatedly occurred in several locations in Sorong,” said George.
Meanwhile, the West Java provincial administration has issued an alert for hydrometeorological disasters towards the end of 2022. Officers and stakeholders involved in disaster management have been urged to remain vigilant by preparing the logistics and establishing evacuation routes.
West Java BPBD Secretary Budi Juanda stated that disaster mitigation measures were improved in the face of potential extreme weather in the coming week. Identifying resources and logistics as well as coordination with various parties for early warnings were part of the efforts.
Previously, West Java Governor Ridwan Kamil reminded all parties involved in disaster mitigation to prepare for potential disasters due to extreme weather towards the end of the year. The public was also asked to remain vigilant due to high potential for disasters in certain areas.
Emil explained that the northern areas of West Java are likely to flood. Meanwhile, hydrometeorological disasters, such as landslides and ground movement, can hit the southern areas. These conditions can be life threatening for the community.
In East Java, heavy rain and a tornado hit eight villages across six subdistricts in Sidoarjo regency on Tuesday (11/10) afternoon, damaging hundreds of houses and causing many trees to fall. Additionally, five medium-voltage overhead lines and 111 electricity distribution substations were also affected.
Sidoarjo Regent Ahmad Muhdlor Ali said residents whose houses were damaged will immediately receive aid from the local administration for repairs. (IDO/ESA/REN/NIK/FLO/RTG/AIN)
This article was translated by Kesya Adhalia.