The Jakarta Post
Almost everywhere in Central Java is categorized as prone to natural disasters, especially floods, windstorms and landslides, an official has warned.
The head of the provincial disaster mitigation agency (BPBD), Gembong Purwanto said on Monday that of 35 regencies and cities in Central Java, only Salatiga city was considered to be safe from natural disasters.
Gembong said that of the 34 remaining regencies and cities, four were prone to tsunamis, two were prone to volcanic eruptions and the rest were prone to floods, landslides, noxious gas and windstorms.
'Entering this rainy season, a number of regencies have reported natural disasters including the latest windstorms in Banyumas, Magelang, Temanggung, Sragen, Sukoharjo, Pemalang, Kudus, Purbalingga and Cilacap,' he said.
Landslides had also been reported in Banjarnegara, Pekalongan and Banyumas, he added.
The landslide in Banyumas left one person dead, in Pekalongan two people were injured and in Banyumas thousands had to flee their homes.
A landslide in Banjarnegara in December 2014, left 108 residents dead in Jemblung village, Karangkobar district. The bodies of five victims were never found.
In 2006, a landslide in Sijeruk village in the regency killed more than 200 residents.
Gembong said that natural disasters also prevailed in urban areas of high population growth, which in turn affected the environment as a result of the pressure caused by development and human activities.
Many urban people were forced to build houses on hillsides because of a lack of land. Many others chose to build on hillsides out of a desire to be closer to nature, whatever the reason this often led to natural disasters, Gembong said.
'To help reduce potential fatalities due to natural disasters we are establishing strong city and regency posts that will be prepared around-the-clock and know what to do in the event of a natural disasters,' he said.
In March this year, the National Disaster Mitigation Agency (BNPB) revealed that 40.9 million people, around 17.2 percent of the population, lived in landslide-prone areas.
BNPB data and information center head Sutopo Purwo Nugroho said on Monday that disaster mitigation efforts for landslides were still minimal but, during the rainy season, people living in susceptible areas faced a medium-to-high risk of landslides.
Meanwhile, windstorms in Banyumas brought down dozens of trees and electricity poles on Sunday night.
'The wind was very strong. The electricity pole in front of my house collapsed last night, causing a blackout for the whole night. Fortunately there were no fatalities,' Agus Nurhadi of Karanglewas subdistrict, Banyumas, said.
He said he had been forced to take his children to his office in Purwokerto to enable them to study for the term exams they had to sit the following morning in their respective schools.
The windstorm in Banyumas was also reported to have caused damage to several houses as a result of falling trees.
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