Local News

Indonesia sees record temperatures, expects blistering heat to continue until next week

The unusually high daytime temperatures currently experienced in several parts of Indonesia are expected to persist over the next seven days, the national weather bureau said, advising the public to avoid sun exposure as far as possible and to stay hydrated. A weather station in Tangerang, Banten, just outside Jakarta, registered 39.6 degrees Celsius – the highest temperature ever recorded in the archipelago – on Wednesday and Thursday. The previous record was 39.5 degrees Celsius, recorded in Semarang, Central Java, in 2015.

Fachri Radjab, head of the Public Meteorology Center at the Meteorology, Climatology and Geophysics Agency (BMKG), said the sweltering conditions would generally occur in the southern parts of Indonesia. “The reason is the perceived motion of the sun. The sun is currently still around the        equator, so [we receive] maximum radiation,” Fakhri said, referring to the shift of the sun’s position across the sky throughout a year, in accordance with Earth’s solar orbit.  From September, the sun is situated near the equator as it moves toward the southern hemisphere until reaching its furthest point in December. The sun will be above the southern part of Indonesia, over South Sulawesi, Java, Bali, West Nusa Tenggara and East Nusa Tenggara, in October.

Fakri said minimal cloud cover, due to the prolonged dry   season, was exacerbating the situation.  The BMKG has advised people affected by the hot weather to drink enough water to avoid dehydration and to wear clothing that can protect the skin from the sun. It also urged people to be aware of activities that may trigger forest and brush fires, especially in high-risk areas. Several BMKG observation stations in Sulawesi have  recorded temperature above 37 degrees Celsius since Oct. 19.  Hasanuddin Meteorological Station in Makassar, South Sulawesi, recorded a temperature of 38.8 degrees Celsius, followed by Maros Climatology Station at 38.3 degrees Celsius and Sangia Ni Bandera Meteorological Station at 37.8 degrees Celsius. Next week, there is still potential for blistering temperatures as the sun continues to move south and dry atmospheric conditions hinder the growth of cloud cover, Mulyono R. Prabowo, deputy head of meteorology at the BMKG, said in a statement on Wednesday. He also denied social media rumors that Indonesia was currently experiencing a heatwave. “Indonesia is currently affected by high temperatures but not a heatwave. The heatwave phenomenon does not occur in Indonesia,” he said. [Jakarta Globe October 24, 2019]

Indonesia: Drought Information bulletin – Indonesia

According to Meteorology, Climatology, and Geophysical Agency (BMKG), the dry season in Indonesia has culminated back in August 2019. About 92 per cent of the country is currently experiencing drought due to El Nino cycle at the end of 2018, resulting in a drier and harsher dry season. BMKG also noted that meteorological (climate) drought in most of Java, Bali and Nusa Tenggara potentially will suffer long to extreme drought. The government predicted the situation to impact the lives of 48,491,666 people in 28 provinces. Nine provinces are severely affected by the drought which are Banten, Central Java, West Java, East Java, Yogyakarta, Bali, West Nusa Tenggara and Sulawesi and Borneo and the Government of Indonesia has declared an emergency drought alert status in seven provinces; Banten, Central Java, West Java, East Java, Yogyakarta, West Nusa Tenggara and East Nusa Tenggara.

A number of regional governments have reported scarcity of clean water, declining supply of irrigation water and crop failure. According to BNPB report, as of August approximately 20,269 hectares of crop field damaged and facing crop failure because of the drought. In addition, based on various media reports, people in Mount Kidul village located in Jogjakarta province started to sell their livestock for clean water. BMKG predicted that the raining season will start at the end of November until beginning of December 2019. As a response, PMI has been distributing clean water in Banten, West Java, Central Java, DI Yogyakarta, East Java, Bali, NTB and Central Sulawesi Provinces.

Based on initial information from BNPB and PMI POSKO, the current immediate needs are access to clean water and drinking water. The government through National Disaster Management Agency (BNPB) has been providing drinking water to severely affected by the drought for a total of 28,576,400 litres. BNPB together with the Agency for the Assessment and Application of Technology (BPPT), BMKG  and Indonesia National Army have been coordinating the operation using Weather Modification Technology (WMT). This technology will be used in Jakarta for Java region and Kupang for Nusa Tenggara Barat and Nusa Tenggara Timur. Local Disaster Management Agency (BPBD) in each region continues working with local governments, non-governmental organizations, social institutions, the business world, and the community to provide clean water for their communities.

[reliefweb.int/organization/ifrc October 17, 2019]

Growing water deficit threatens sustainability of Bali’s tourism industry

As reported by NusaBali, Bali is in the midst of a “water crisis.” The Center for the Development of the Bali-Nusa Tenggara Eco-region (P3E), reports that Bali is running an annual water deficit of 336.24 million liters or 336.24 cubic meters. Of the   9 regencies and metropolitan areas in Bali, only 4 enjoy a surplus in their water supply: Bangli, Jembrana, Buleleng, and Karangasem. The remaining 4 regencies and Denpasar are in short supply of water. The extent of the current crisis was revealed by the Chief of P3E Bali-Nusa Tenggara, Rizaluzzaman, in a pre-event press conference held in  conjunction with a symposium on “Safeguarding and Ensuring Sustainable Water Supply in Bali” held on Wednesday, October 16, 2019. The actual conference was held at the office of Bali’s Governor on Thursday, October 17, 2019.

According to Rizaluzzaman, surveys undertaken by P3E Bali-Nusa Tenggara show that 66.1% of Bali has an “average” rating for its water supply, while 29.72% are classified as having a “low” water supply and 3.67% are classified as having a “high” or abundant water supply. The lowest available water supply occurs in Buleleng for the Districts of Gerogak, Kabutambahan, and Tejakula. Critically low supplies of water are also reported in Klungkung. Meanwhile, Bangli, located in a mountainous lake district of Bali, has an abundant surplus of water. Rizaluzzaman said that anyone wanting to know the water situation in any area only need look at the leaves on the local trees. He explained that forest cover areas with small leaves have limited water supplies and areas with trees displaying large leaves tend to have surplus water supplies. Accordingly, the Government ecologist recommends that areas with trees with large leaves remain undisturbed and allowed to act as land banks or water reservoirs for the rest   of the Island. He went on to emphasize that Bali must pay special attention to water conservation, adding, “What happens to tourism without water?” Rizaluzzaman noted   with appreciation efforts by hotels in Bali to create water absorption areas to preserve subterranean water tables.

The same warning regarding a diminishing water supply was also sounded by a representative of the Agency for Riverways (BWS) for Bali-Penida, I Ketut Alit Sudiastika, who said Bali is experiencing a water deficit of 18.73 cubic meters of water every second of the day. The current water demand for the entire island of Bali has reached 119.96 cubic meters per second. This compares to a supply capacity of only 101.23 cubic meters of water per second. Alit Sudiastika said Bali has the potential of producing 216.87 cubic meters of water per second, a total that could only be achieved with a substantial investment in infrastructure. Sudiastika said Bali’s declining water supply was due, in large part, to the rapid change in land usage that is destroying what were once water catchment areas.

Bali counts 391 rivers with a total length of 2,776 km. Of the  391 rivers, only 162 maintain a flow of water on a year-round basis. A remaining 153 rivers only flow during the rainy season and 76 rivers are classified as “dead” or “dried up.” [Bali Discovery October 29, 2019]

Foreigner suspected stealing turtles from Sindhu Beach conservation centre

Sindhu Dwarawati Turtle Conservation Centre, which is a conservation area in Sanur for turtles, was broken into on Monday morning and it was reported that 24 turtles had gone missing. According to the Head of South Denpasar Polsek, Commissioner Nyoman Wirajaya, police suspected that the thief was a foreigner. “But we are still not sure of the fact,” he said to baliexpress.com on Tuesday. “We received a report at around 8pm Monday night and sent officers to the scene to investigate,” he said. A witness, I Made Winarta, 43, told police that he checked the turtles at around 5am Monday morning. When the man, who is a conservation officer, counted the turtles, he was shocked that there were several turtles missing. “The conservation officer checked the turtles at around 5am and found that there were 24 turtles missing. The thief took mature turtles with sizes from 10 cm to 45 cm and smaller ones about 5 cm in size,” Wirajaya added.

The CCTV footage showed someone with foreigner characteristics, wearing a t-shirt and trousers lifting the turtles from the ponds and taking them away at around 3am. But Wirajaya said that they were still not sure that the thief was a foreigner. “We are still investigating. We have never seen a theft like this in the South Denpasar jurisdiction area before,” he said. Police are facing difficulties because there was nobody in the vicinity when the theft allegedly occurred. “We have difficulties finding witnesses, as there was nobody around at that time. The warung near the conservation centre opens at 10am,” he concluded. [seminyaktimes.com October 23, 2019]

Thais, Frenchman could face firing squad in Bali drug cases

Two Thai women and a Frenchman could face the death penalty after they were caught smuggling drugs into Bali, the Indonesian holiday island’s customs agency said Monday. The Thai nationals – identified as Kasarin Khamkhao and Sanicha Maneetes – arrived last week on a flight from Bangkok and suspicious airport officials found nearly a kilogram of methamphetamine hidden under their clothes, authorities said. “A lab test confirmed all the    packages contained methamphetamine weighing 958 grams in total,” Himawan Indarjono, head of immigration at Bali’s international airport, told reporters Monday. The pair – a janitor and an operator of a motorcycle rental shop in Thailand – could face a firing squad if convicted in the Muslim majority nation, which has some of the world’s toughest drug laws.

Separately, Frenchman Olivier Jover was arrested in Bali after a package sent from his home country containing some 22.5 grams of cocaine arrived at the airport with his address on it, according to authorities. He faces a long jail term or the death penalty, authorities said. Russian beautician Tatiana Firsova, who allegedly tried to smuggle in 6.6 grams of cocaine, was arrested after arriving in Bali on a flight from Doha last week. She faces up to 15 years if convicted.

The four suspects, wearing orange prison jumpsuits, were paraded together in front of reporters Monday – a common practice in Indonesia. The arrests come as two Thai men were sentenced last week to 16 years in prison each after they were found guilty of smuggling one kilogram of methamphetamine that they had swallowed. While death sentences are often reduced to long jail terms, Indonesia has executed foreign nationals in the past, including two Australian masterminds of the Bali Nine heroin gang who were shot in 2015.

[news.yahoo.com October 21, 2019]