In many parts of Indonesia, a pressing environmental challenge is unfolding as the El Nino phenomenon takes center stage. El Nino, a climatic occurrence, brings with it a significant reduction in rainfall, resulting in prolonged periods of severe drought. To address and closely monitor the regions most severely affected by this drought, the Meteorology, Climatology, and Geophysics Agency (BMKG) has been conducting comprehensive assessments across the nation.
According to BMKG’s extensive climate observations at 4,093 rainfall monitoring stations throughout Indonesia, an alarming trend has emerged. A staggering 870 locations have reached a critical state of extreme drought. These 870 areas have gone without meaningful rainfall for an extended period of over 60 days, equating to more than two months of exceptionally dry conditions.
What intensifies the concern is that, under normal circumstances, many parts of Indonesia should already be entering the rainy season by October. However, the situation is far from normal, with vast regions grappling with an acute lack of precipitation.
In an unsettling revelation, BMKG identifies DKI Jakarta as the province where not a single municipality has experienced rainfall for the past three months. The impact of this prolonged drought is undeniably severe, and it underscores the growing significance of timely and effective measures to counter its consequences.
As we navigate through this challenging period, the Meteorological Drought Monitoring Map published by BMKG paints a dire picture. Nearly every corner of Java Island is in the grip of the most extreme drought conditions, adding to the growing concern. In particular, the region enduring the longest period without rain is Sumba Timur, situated in East Nusa Tenggara (NTT), where the drought has persisted for an astonishing 166 days, exceeding five months of parched conditions.
BMKG has issued a stern warning, underscoring the urgent need to recognize the implications of reduced rainfall. The agency alerts us to a situation where only 11 percent of the Indonesian Seasonal Zone has experienced the arrival of the rainy season. This stark statistic is accompanied by another unsettling fact: 85 areas within 19 provinces have gone without rainfall for more than two months.
The consequences of this prolonged drought are far-reaching and impactful. It presents a significant challenge to agriculture, resulting in potential crop failures and food scarcity. The scarcity of water resources becomes a critical concern as it directly affects daily life, industrial activities, and agricultural needs. Furthermore, the heightened risk of land and forest fires looms large, posing a threat to ecosystems and human settlements.
This situation is a stark reminder of the critical need for water resource management, environmental conservation, and disaster preparedness in the face of climatic challenges. It also highlights the importance of community awareness and government initiatives to address the consequences of prolonged drought and its effects on various aspects of life.
As we continue to monitor this evolving situation, it is evident that a collective effort is essential to mitigate the effects of this prolonged drought and ensure the well-being of affected communities.
The 19 areas most significantly impacted by this extended period of reduced rainfall until mid-October 2023, according to BMKG’s data as of Tuesday (10/10/2023), are as follows:
- Sumatera Selatan
- Bangka Belitung
- Jawa Barat
- DKI Jakarta
- Jawa Tengah
- DI Yogyakarta
- Jawa Timur
- Kalimantan Tengah
- Kalimantan Selatan
- Sulawesi Utara
- Sulawesi Selatan
- Sulawesi Tenggara
- Nusa Tenggara Timur
- Nusa Tenggara Barat
This comprehensive overview highlights the urgency of addressing the prolonged drought and the importance of timely intervention to mitigate its far-reaching impacts. As we grapple with the challenges posed by changing climatic conditions, it is essential to remain vigilant and proactive in safeguarding our environment and the well-being of affected regions.