Local News

Bali Officials Begin Distributing Vaccines Door-To-Door

Denpasar city government has decided to distribute the Covid-19 vaccine from door-to-door to accelerate the vaccination program in their area.

The Spokesman of the Denpasar Covid-19 Handling Task Force, I Dewa Gede Rai said that the officials will start to distribute vaccines this way in three different areas of South Denpasar, including Sidakarya, Sesetan, and Panjer on Monday (5/4).

“Six points were spread out in those three main areas, and the vaccine will be distributed every single day in those areas,” Gede Rai said on Sunday (4/4).

The door-to-door vaccination program is aimed to distribute the vaccine to senior citizens, especially to those who are incapable of reaching the vaccination points due to their physical condition.

“Only 44% of senior citizens there received the Covid-19 vaccine, so we need to be more active to reach our target” Gede Rai added. Apart from the elderly, this program was also targeted to vaccinate teachers and merchants in those areas.

“Teachers and local merchants were also prioritized to receive the vaccine as they have contact with many people on a daily basis, so I urged all teachers and merchants who live in those areas to come to the nearby vaccination points and register themselves by showing their ID” Gede Rai concluded.

Meanwhile, Gede Rai targeted distributing the vaccine to around 1,200 residents each day while running this program. (Thebalisun.com 06/04/2021)


Canadian Ambassador Visits Bali To Assist With Agriculture Training Program

The Canadian Ambassador for Indonesia, Cameron Mackay has recently visited Nusa Penida to inspect the agriculture training program that has been provided by the Canadian government as a form of support for the local community on the island.

The Regent of Klungkung District, I Nyoman Suwirta who accompanied Mackay during his visit said that he really appreciates the support from the Canadian embassy to develop the agriculture in Nusa Penida by providing proper training for the local community on the island. The Head of Canadian Cooperation Development Division, Sherry Hornung also appeared during the visit.

“After previously requesting support from the central government, assistance and cooperation was finally obtained and the Canadian government has supported us by providing training to develop some of our agriculture products such as seaweed, Poh mango, coconut and cassava.” Suwirta said on Monday (29/3).

He also explained that Nusa Penida was chosen because the island has so much potential for sources of income other than tourism.

“Agriculture could provide a living for the local communities while the tourism sector is affected by the Covid-19 pandemic, And as the government officials we are responsible to assure that these products can be distributed in our local markets.” Suwirta concluded.

He also said that regional governments keep on observing this training program to assure that people will get the benefits of learning new skill sets. (Thebalisun.com 06/04/2021)


Tropical cyclone Seroja the strongest Indonesia has seen in 13 years: official

The tropical cyclone that triggered catastrophic flash floods and landslides in Nusa Tenggara islands was the strongest Indonesia has seen in more than a decade, an official said today.

Dwikorita Karnawati, the head of the Meteorology, Climatology, and Geophysics Agency (BMKG), today stressed the importance of mitigating the impacts of climate change after torrential rain and strong winds from the tropical cyclone Seroja inundated parts of East Nusa Tenggara (NTT) and West Nusa Tenggara (NTB) on Sunday.

“This is what we all need to be aware of, that we must really mitigate [the impacts of] global warming, if not the situation with these cyclones will become a regular occurrence every year,” Dwikorita said during a virtual press conference.

The extreme events on Sunday killed at least 128 people as of this morning and drove thousands out of their homes, while more than 100 others have been declared missing. Officials are expecting more casualties as relief efforts continue. According to the National Disaster Mitigation Agency (BNPB), the tropical cyclone Seroja affected 10 regencies and one city in NTT, and one regency in NTB.

Since 2008, BMKG Jakarta’s Tropical Cyclone Warning Center has detected 10 tropical cyclones in Indonesia, the latest and strongest being Seroja, which the agency had detected as early as April 2.

What makes Seroja different from previous cyclones is that Seroja moved much closer to land, which made it more destructive. This is the first time that a cyclone moved in this way in Indonesia and triggered such a tremendous impact, Dwikorita said.

“This is not common. That’s why we need to evaluate because [it’s possible] that this was caused by increasingly warm surface-level temperatures of the ocean,” she explained, noting that climate change could be to blame.

The Indonesian Forum for the Environment (Walhi) in NTT separately said that the fatal flash floods and landslides in the province were also triggered by severe environmental damage caused by land conversion, illegal logging, and mining.

BMKG also warned of more extreme weather events, including heavy rain, strong winds and lightning, until tomorrow in NTB and NTT, as Seroja moves away from Indonesia. The agency said strong waves with height ranging between 1 meter to 6 meters in different parts of the country should be expected, including in the southern waters of Sumba Island.

Meanwhile, Bali, South Sulawesi, and parts of Southeast Sulawesi should also expect moderate to heavy rain, lightning, and strong winds until at least tomorrow. (coconuts.co 06/04/2021)


At least 52 killed by flash floods and landslides in NTT as officials caution more extreme weather

At least 52 people were killed after flash floods and landslides swept parts of East Nusa Tenggara (NTT) province yesterday, as officials warned of more extreme weather events in the coming days.

Torrential rain and strong winds resulted in flash floods on Sunday, which not only inundated homes but also destroyed bridges and roads. The death toll is expected to rise as disaster-relief officials struggle to access the worst-hit areas.

As of Sunday, East Flores regency reported 41 fatalities while Lembata regency reported 11, according to data provided by the National Disaster Mitigation Agency (BNPB). Dozens are still missing and hundreds have been evacuated as houses were submerged under mud and water.

Indonesia’s Meteorology, Climatology, and Geophysics Agency (BMKG) said tropical cyclone Seroja will intensify in the next 24 hours as it moves away from Indonesia. However, it will still likely cause heavy rain accompanied by lightning or strong winds in eastern parts of the country, including in NTT, West Nusa Tenggara (NTB), South Sulawesi, Central Sulawesi, Southeast Sulawesi, and Maluku. (coconuts.co 05/04/2021)


Expatriates join Indonesians in calling out foreign anti-maskers, anti-vaxxers in Bali

“I will leave Bali if there is ever a forced vaccination rule,” said a 31-year-old American woman who divides her time between Ubud and Canggu.

Martha (not her real name), believes that the COVID-19 vaccine should not be compulsory and that wearing masks will not make a difference in reducing infections. According to her, the disease has “a 99.9 percent recovery rate”.

She also claims that the majority of expatriates in Bali were both anti-vaxxers and anti-maskers, and that they would leave Indonesia if mandatory vaccinations were imposed.

“Surely there will be doctors you can pay to give you a [vaccination] certificate if [the authorities] make it mandatory, no?” she said.

The pandemic has ravaged the country’s top holiday destination of Bali since the government banned international travel to the resort island last year.

Bali’s provincial economy relies heavily on tourism, yet it continues to see many foreigners, both residents and visitors, breaking the central government’s COVID-19 public health protocols.

In June 2020, provincial authorities deported Syrian national Barakeh Wissam for organizing a yoga gathering in Ubud. Around 60 people, mostly foreigners, attended the event in the village, which is known as the island’s cultural and spiritual center.

In January, Bali deported American national Kristen Gray after she published a Twitter post that encouraged foreigners to come to Indonesia during the pandemic, despite the international travel ban. Other tweets she posted caused uproar among Indonesian netizens, who lambasted her over “passport privilege”.

That same month, Russian influencer Sergey Kosenko was also deported after he held a party in Canggu, a popular beachfront destination in southern Bali.

Back to “Martha”, who says she isn’t concerned about a backlash from Indonesians over her controversial views.

“I personally wear my mask [in public], even though I do not agree with it. I do this out of respect for those who are in fear, since it makes them feel more comfortable,” she said, stressing that she was a guest in another country and would abide by the local rules.

She also revealed that she contracted COVID-19 in January and complied with the government’s 14-day quarantine in Jakarta, even though she felt it was “wildly unnecessary”.

When asked about her relationship with Indonesians, Martha mentioned her volunteer work and how she personally employed three Indonesians with “generous salaries” and provided them with money and food when they were struggling.

Local law enforcement officers collect a fine from a foreign man caught not wearing a mask while riding a motorcycle in Bali, Indonesia’s top tourist destination. (Tribun Bali/Zaenal Nur Arifin)

The province currently imposes a fine of Rp 100,000 ($7) on anyone who is caught not wearing a mask, whether Indonesian or non-Indonesian.

“Wearing a mask is the simplest thing to do. It isn’t like people are being asked to do something that is difficult,” McDonald.

“I’m normally against tiered pricing, but in this case, I think it is warranted,” he continued, saying that he thought the “three strikes and you’re out” policy was fair.

McDonald added that he often called out those who refused to wear a mask.

“If they don’t value their own health, they clearly don’t value mine either, so I say my piece and leave. I’m not going to waste my time debating with idiots,” he said.

American national Mike Shaw, 44, who lives in Kerobokan, Bali, said that he and his wife, also American, didn’t enter any businesses that did not require their customers to wear masks.

Like McDonald, he also called out other foreigners who refused to wear a mask in public. He said that he had no respect for such people.

“We are guests on this island and in this country, the least that we can do is try to not spread the virus among the Indonesians and Balinese people who welcome us and help us by working at their jobs,” said Shaw.

“The only reason [foreigners] don’t follow the rules is because [they] want to be disrespectful and/or want to lord [their] status over other people.” (thejakartapost.com 01/04/2021)