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Jakarta Post

Disasters loom as rainy season peaks

  • The Jakarta Post

    The Jakarta Post

Jakarta   /   Mon, February 2, 2015   /  09:08 am

The National Disaster Mitigation Agency (BNPB) has called on people to exercise caution in the
face of heavy rains, lightning and strong winds that may trigger deadly disasters.

BNPB spokesperson Sutopo Purwo Nugroho said that as rain intensified, there would be abundant cumulonimbus clouds in the atmosphere.

'€œCells of these clouds can grow big and result in heavy rain accompanied by lightning and strong winds,'€ Sutopo said in Jakarta on Sunday.

He called on people to be on alert for lightning strikes and to avoid being in open places with metal objects when the weather turned cloudy or the rain started to fall, adding that the peak of the rainy season would last through February.

In Tasikmalaya, West Java, Sutopo said, lightning hit five farmers taking shelter in a hut in a field, killing two of them and causing burns to the other three on Saturday.

In Bojonegoro, East Java, lightning also hit a farmer as he was leaving a field, while in Tanjung Bumi Bangkalan in Sampang, East Java, lightning struck two people.

Continuous rainfall during the peak of the rainy season has also led to disasters in a number of regions.

West Nusa Tenggara (NTB) has declared emergency status in 10 regencies and cities in the region.

'€œAll 10 regions have the potential for experiencing both floods and landslides,'€ NTB BPBD head Wedha Magma Ardhi said in Mataram on Sunday as quoted by Antara news agency.

Quoting information from the Meteorology, Climatology and Geophysics Agency'€™s (BMKG) Selaparang-BIL station, Wedha said that rainfall in NTB would reach its peak sometime in February.

'€œBased on this information, together with the 10 regencies and city administrations we continue monitoring the situation for floods or landslides that could hit at anytime,'€ Wedha said.

In anticipation of disasters, he said his agency had set up a disaster mitigation team comprising various institutions, including the provincial, regency and municipal BPBDs, disaster rapid-response teams, social affairs agencies, the military and the police.

Meanwhile, the flood that inundated 10 subdistricts on Saturday in Dompu and Woja districts had subsided and people could return to their homes, he said.

The flood inundated between 4,000 and 5,000 houses in the area. Some houses located on riverbanks encountered floodwaters 4 meters deep, nearly submerging them.

The overflowing Laju, Silo, Soa, Raba Baka and Toi rivers were blamed for the flood in Dompu.

Floods also struck Leu and Jala subdistricts in Bolo district and Monggo subdistrict in the Madapangga district of Bima regency beginning Saturday evening.

In Nganjuk regency, East Java, the local BPBD aired plans to build an emergency bridge following the collapse of the 30-meter bridge connecting Sawahan and Bareng subdistricts in Sawahan district due to heavy rainfall on Saturday. Some 7,000 people are currently isolated due to the bridge'€™s collapse.

In South Kalimantan, floods caused by the Benawa and Barabai rivers inundated dozens of hectares of rice fields in Hulu Sungai Tengah regency, triggering fears of crop failures, as rice seedlings were newly planted.

Affected regions include the Batu Benawa and Barabai districts.

Provinces with high potential for heavy downpours over the next three days include Lampung, West Java, Central Java, East Java, Central Kalimantan, South Sulawesi, Southeast Sulawesi, Bali, NTB, East Nusa Tenggara (NTT), Maluku and Papua.

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