Jakarta: Home Affairs Minister Tjahjo Kumolo confirmed his ministry's coordination with the National Disaster Mitigation Agency (BNPB) and Meteorology, Climatology, Geophysics Agency (BMKG) to tackle water shortage afflicting 200 villages that received no rain in May-June 2019.
The coordination was deemed necessary, so that regions, left parched by the extreme dry spell, did not have to wait for the central government to address the drought problem, the minister explained here on Tuesday.
Moreover, his ministry has established coordination with the Indonesian Defense Forces (TNI) and the National Police for the purpose of law enforcement to prevent forest fires often started by farmers to clear forest areas to make way for agricultural area or plantation.
The ministry has, since the past three years, apportioned budget for regions prone to natural disasters, including floods, forest fires, drought, and landslides.
Earlier, President Joko Widodo had instructed his ministries to take precautionary measures against the impacts of drought during this current dry season.
"I appeal to ministries and institution heads as well as governors to head to the fields to personally review the condition and adopt precautionary measures to mitigate the impacts of drought," Jokowi noted while chairing a limited cabinet meeting on Monday.
The BMKG had reminded the regional authorities to step up vigil over possible forest fires and droughts, as this year's dry season was forecast to be drier than that of the previous year. The extreme dry season has affected several areas since May and is expected to last until September, with the condition likely to peak in August.
Meanwhile, forest fires had consumed a total of 30,477 hectares of area as of July 2019, Agus Wibowo, spokesman of the National Disaster Mitigation Agency (BNPB), stated.
Forest and bush fires engulfed the provinces of Aceh, Riau, Jambi, West Kalimantan, Central Kalimantan, South Kalimantan, and West Papua, Wibowo remarked on Tuesday.
Forest fires devastated a total of 27,683 hectares of area in Riau, 2,274 hectares in West Kalimantan, 236 hectares in South Sumatra, 142 hectares in Aceh, 58 hectares in West Papua, 53 hectares in South Kalimantan, 27 hectares in Central Kalimantan, and four hectares in Jambi.
"The BNPB and the Agency for Technology Assessment and Application (BPPT) have conducted aerial operation to induce artificial rain," he remarked.
Wibowo believed that 99 percent of the fires were triggered by intentional or accidental human activities. (Antara)