Jakarta, 28/5, 2021 (ANTARA) - Natural disasters
are a day-to-day occurrence in Indonesia, as some 10 natural disasters
occurred daily in January-March 2021, up from nine per day during 2020,
of the total of 3,253 natural disasters that took place.
The world's largest archipelagic nation comprising over 17 thousand islands is located in the Pacific Ring of Fire, a horseshoe-shaped region of converging tectonic plates and several volcanoes.
The country has four disaster clusters: geology and volcanology (volcanic eruptions, earthquakes, and tsunamis); hydro-meteorology I (forest fires and drought), hydro-meteorology II (flash floods, landslides, and coastal abrasion); and non-natural disasters (waste, epidemics, and technological failures).
"In fact, outsiders call Indonesia a 'disaster supermarket' because of our complex demographic contours. We are one of the 35 countries, with the highest level of potential disaster risks in the world according to the World Bank's indicators," National Disaster Management Agency (BNPB) Head Lt Gen. Doni Monardo stated on May 6, 2021, while speaking at an online seminar on "The Importance of Building Disaster Competencies and Skills in Indonesia" organized by the School of Environmental Sciences (SIL) of the University of Indonesia (UI).
During the January-April 14, 2021, period, a total of 1,118 natural disasters had struck various parts of Indonesia, according to the BNPB data.
The natural disasters comprised 473 occurrences of floods, 305 whirlwinds, 217 landslides, 17 earthquakes, 90 forest and land fires, one incident of drought, and 15 high tides and abrasions. On April 13, 2021, the government declared the spread of COVID-19 as a non-natural national disaster.
At least 472 people lost their lives, 60 people went missing, and 12,872 others sustained injuries in the disasters. The natural disasters forced 4,901,400 people to flee their homes and damaged 137,719 homes, with 24,987 houses sustaining severe damage, 25,926 houses experiencing moderate damage, and 86,806 houses suffering light damage. A total of 2,547 public facilities were also damaged, comprising 1,316 educational facilities, 926 places of worship, 305 health facilities, 402 offices, and 297 bridges, according to the BNPB.
Most of the natural disasters were reported in West Java, reaching 284; followed by 157 in East Java; 156 in Central Java; and 76 in Aceh.
Finance Minister Sri Mulyani Indrawati earlier stated that disasters had led to losses amounting to Rp28.8 trillion annually.
Indonesians earlier paid no attention to weather forecasts. However, since the frequency of natural disasters, such as cyclones, whirlwinds, and tornadoes, had been increasing, several people are currently left with no choice but to follow the weather forecast news.
Hence, President Joko Widodo (Jokowi) has sought easier public access to weather forecast and warnings of the Meteorology, Climatology and Geophysics Agency (BMKG) to raise awareness on potential disasters.