The increasingly widespread drought disaster in Indonesia
In the midst of the hustle and bustle ahead of the 2024 elections, some Indonesians have been hit by a long drought. There are at least 166,415 people who are languishing due to the clean water crisis until the end of September 2023.
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The following article was translated using both Microsoft Azure Open AI and Google Translation AI. The original article can be found in Bencana Kekeringan yang Makin Meluas di Indonesia
In the last two months, an increasing number of people have been affected by drought in Indonesia. Weekly disaster information data from the National Disaster Management Agency (BNPB) shows the impact of widespread drought in the country. The drought in question is the availability of water which is far below the water requirements for life, agriculture, economic activities and the environment.
Report since Monday, September 25, 2023 at 07.00 WIB until Tuesday, September 26, 2023 at 07.00 WIB stated that drought is affecting several regions in West Java Province, Banten, East Java, Central Java, DI Yogyakarta, Bali, South Sulawesi, Gorontalo, and East Nusa Tenggara.
In Banten, drought is experienced by 33,520 residents in Serang. Meanwhile, in South Sulawesi, a prolonged dry season has made it difficult for 17,211 Wajo residents to access clean water. In Central Java, daily data collection by BNPN found that 99,523 residents in 76 districts across 17 regencies/cities are also affected by drought.
On a weekly basis, the number of residents affected by this drought continues to increase until the third week of September 2023. BNPB monitoring in the period 14-21 September 2023, at least 166,415 people are experiencing a clean water crisis. They are spread across 53 sub-districts in 11 provinces. This number increased from the previous week (27 July-3 August 2023), where 19,581 people were recorded as experiencing drought.
The number of residents affected by this drought is expected to continue to increase. There are three factors that can indicate the spread of the impact of this drought. The first is the length of the long dry season. Based on BMKG's data, this drought cannot be separated from the occurrence of the El Nino phenomenon, which causes a longer dry season than usual to hit Indonesia.
El Nino is a natural phenomenon in which the climate becomes warmer, characterized by a prolonged dry season. Since July 2023, the Meteorology, Climatology, and Geophysics Agency (BMKG) has predicted that the peak impact of El Nino will occur in August-September 2023.
The prediction is based on BMKG monitoring results which state that as of mid-July 2023, 63% of Indonesia's seasonal zones have entered the dry season. Furthermore, BMKG also predicts that this year's dry season in 2023 will be drier than normal conditions. In the latest development, the El Nino phenomenon is predicted to continue, causing drought to last until October 2023.
This long drought has even been felt in a number of areas. Since May 2023, the Cianjur Regency Government has declared a drought emergency alert. The NTT Provincial Government, in fact, has set it from the end of April 2023.
The second factor that can be observed from the widespread impact of this drought is the implementation of a drought emergency status in several regencies/cities. In some places, this drought emergency status is also implemented simultaneously with forest and land fires.
Several areas that have declared a state of emergency due to drought include North Lombok Regency, West Manggarai Regency, Banyuwangi Regency, Trenggalek Regency, Garut Regency, Bekasi Regency, Cimahi Regency, Cianjur Regency, Bantul Regency, Gunungkidul Regency, Boyolali Regency, Demak Regency, Cilacap Regency, and Serang Regency.
Furthermore, the drought emergency status has already been applied at the provincial level, namely in NTT and Banten. Since April 2023, Pemprov NTT has designated a state of emergency for six months from April 27, 2023 to October 27, 2023. Most recently, Pemprov Banten also declared a drought emergency response status on September 19, 2023.
The third factor that needs to be watched out for regarding the widespread impact of this drought is the potential risk of drought disasters experienced by Indonesia. The 2022 publication of the Indonesian Disaster Risk Index (IRBI) states that there are 371 districts/cities that have a high risk index for drought disasters. Of the 511 districts/cities mapped by BNPB, there are 70 percent of areas that are at great risk of experiencing drought.
The risk of such a disaster has at least been experienced by Indonesia in 2018. At that time, a drought hit 7,798,693 residents in 11 provinces. The number of disasters taken from the publication "Indonesian Disaster Data 2018" shows that Java Island was the region most affected by the drought.
At that time, as many as 4.92 million people in Java distributed across 90 districts/cities were affected by a prolonged drought. This condition describes the majority (63 percent) of the population affected by the drought in Java. Meanwhile, outside Java Island, drought occurred in 39 districts/cities spread across six provinces, namely North Sumatra, South Sumatra, Lampung, West Nusa Tenggara, East Nusa Tenggara, and South Sulawesi.
The pattern of drought disasters that occurred in 2018 is still ongoing this year. Areas experiencing drought until August 2023 are also widespread across Java Island. According to the records of BNPB, drought in the Java region this year began in Cilacap and Bogor in May 2023. Until August 2023, at least 428,749 Java residents have been affected by the drought.
Clean water is an important part of human life. The presence of clean water is needed as a source of drinking water and other needs, such as cooking, bathing, and washing (MCK). Insufficient consumption of drinking water can cause dangerous dehydration for the human body. The lack of water sources can also have an impact on health quality, such as bodily hygiene.
The emergency of drought and clean water crisis experienced by some communities in Indonesia awaits the government's helping hand to immediately address it. The policy schemes applied by the government when handling health emergencies due to the corona pandemic can be applied to tackle drought. Emergency disaster funds can be allocated to distribute clean water to pockets of drought-stricken regions.
To overcome drought and clean water crisis, the government together with BNPB and BPBD conducted the distribution of clean water. In Central Java, a total of 12,970,300 liters of clean water were distributed in various regions experiencing drought. Similarly, East Java Province has sent aid of clean water to 19 districts/cities.
However, this handling is still in the short-term dimension. The repetition of drought and the tendency of the same regions every year requires long-term handling to prevent the spread of drought and clean water crisis. The development of reservoirs, dams, water terminals, or infiltration wells needs to be improved in drought-prone sub-districts and villages.
In the long run, greening and reforestation in areas around water sources as well as conservation of critical land are long-term investments to tackle drought disasters in Indonesia. (LITBANG KOMPAS)