The Jakarta Post
The National Disaster Mitigation Agency (BNPB) says as many as 566 people were killed by natural disasters throughout 2014, highlighting the need to look at better ways to reduce the impacts of such catastrophic events.
'Preliminary data of disaster events in Indonesia throughout 2014 show that natural disasters still pose a real threat,' BNPB spokesperson Sutopo Purwo Nugroho said as quoted by Antara in Jakarta on Wednesday.
According to official data, as many as 1,525 disaster events killed 566 people and displaced 2.66 million others in 2014, while more than 51,000 homes and hundreds of public facilities were damaged.
The amount of economic losses caused by the disasters amounted to trillions of rupiahs, such as Rp 20 trillion (US$1.6 billion) worth of losses triggered by land and forest fires. Jakarta flooding cost Rp 5 trillion. Flooding along Java's northern coastal areas (Pantura) cost Rp 6 trillion, flash floods in North Sulawesi Rp 1.4 trillion and floods and landslides in 16 regencies and municipalities in Central Java Rp 2.1 trillion. There were many more examples.
BNPB says around 99 percent of disasters in 2014 are hydro-meteorology catastrophes. Tornadoes were the most common natural disasters in 2014, amounting to 496 events, followed by floods ( 458 ) and landslides ( 413 ).
"In the last three years, tornadoes were the most frequently occurring disaster. They killed 57 people and displaced 10,707, while more than 23,000 homes were damaged throughout 2014,' said Sutopo.
He said tornado threats had tended to increase, affecting both urban and rural areas.
'Landslides were the deadliest disaster in 2014. As many as 343 people were killed or had gone missing because of landslides, or 60 percent of total disaster-related fatalities,' said Sutopo.
Recently, landslides in Banjarnegara, Central Java, killed 99 people, while 11 others are still missing.
Indonesia's natural disasters were mostly concentrated in West Java, which had 290 events, followed by Central Java ( 272 ), East Java ( 213 ), Aceh ( 51 ) and South Sumatra ( 48 ). Most of the natural disasters occurred in Bogor with 37 events, followed by Bandung ( 31 ), Sukabumi ( 29 ), Garut ( 26 ) and Cianjur ( 23 ).
'The West Java administration should pay close attention to it because natural disasters have frequently occurred in these areas. The disaster risk reduction capacity of people in disaster-prone areas must continue to be increased. This should be mainstreamed in developments in all sectors,' said Sutopo. (ebf)