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Indonesia braces for La Nina impacts

Indonesia braces for La Nina impacts

Jakarta: Indonesia’s Meteorology, Climatology and Geophysics Agency (BMKG) has found that the sea surface temperature in the equatorial Pacific Ocean is getting colder, indicating a strengthening of La Nina intensity towards a moderate level.

This year’s La Nina is expected to take place from weak to moderate intensity until February 2022, agency Chief Dwikorita Karnawati said at a virtual national coordination meeting.

This condition is the same as for the La Nina in 2020 with similar intensity. The agency’s study showed that the rainfall has increased by 20 per cent to 70 per cent, Xinhua news agency quoted Karnawati as saying.

Like La Nina in 2020, there was an increase in the rainfall in various parts of Indonesia, especially on the islands of Sumatra, Java and Bali as well as in the provinces of West Nusa Tenggara, East Nusa Tenggara, South Kalimantan and South Sulawesi.

Based on related information on La Nina, Indonesia’s Coordinating Minister for Maritime and Investment Affairs Luhut Binsar Pandjaitan asked all parties including related ministries and institutions to work together to mitigate impact of the natural phenomenon.

All the relevant parties should make action plans for synergies in La Nina disaster mitigation efforts to ensure efforts to be carried out effectively, quickly and precisely, the minister said at the national coordinating meeting.

All sides should “also do a preparedness simulation or tactical floor game that we have done many times to check fact finding if there are things or steps that must be prepared,” said the Minister.

In the face of the La Nina storm, Minister of Public Works and Public Housing Basuki Hadimuljono said preparations have been made including emptying 205 dams with a total capacity of 4.7 billion cubic metres.

The Ministry is also ready to activate a disaster management task force to monitor all existing infrastructures in Indonesia to assess volumes of floods that could be accommodated, Hadimuljono told the coordinating meeting on La Nina.

“We currently have 231 dams plus several new dams, and the ministry has calculated the flood capacity of the dam,” he said, adding that the ministry is also preparing to operate 192 flood control pump units with a capacity of 263.4 cubic meters per second.

In addition, he said, the ministry made an inventory of materials such as geobags and heavy equipment units including dump trucks, excavators, and rubber boats.

Meanwhile, the Indonesian national agency for disaster management has called on the local agencies in all the 34 provinces to take steps to prepare for hydrometeorological disasters such as floods, flash floods, landslides and strong winds in the face of the La Nina phenomenon.

“Historical records show that La Nina in 2020 caused an increase in the accumulation of monthly rainfalls in Indonesia by 20 per cent to 70 per cent of normal conditions,” the agency official Prasinta Dewi said in a statement.

The increase in rainfall has the potential to trigger a hydrometeorological disaster, she said, urging provincial disaster management agencies to be vigilant and take counter measures.

Early efforts to be made to improve coordination include monitoring climate information, weather developments and warnings of extreme weather, she said.

She also called on the Indonesian people to stay away from rivers, valleys and slopes which are vulnerable to landslides as well as trees and beaches to avert the impact of La Nina.

Foreseeing hydrometeorological disasters, Dewi also asked local agencies to make early preparations related to human resources, logistics and equipment as well as health service facilities in accordance with health protocols over the Covid-19 pandemic.

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