Extreme weather, illegal logging cause rampant floods in Indonesia

18:57, October 08, 2010      

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Indonesia has been hit by rampant floods in recent days, caused by extreme weather and illegal logging.

A recent flash flood claimed more than 100 lives in Wasior of West Papua province. Meanwhile, a flash flood also hit several sub regencies in Aceh Jaya regency of Aceh province.

Flood also hit provinces of Bengkulu, Central Kalimantan, South Kalimantan and Central Java.

Bustar Maitar, a campaigner of Greenpeace Southeast Asia, told Xinhua in an exclusive interview that the floods were "the cost of deforestation" and the impact of climate change that is already happened.

"This is the real form of climate change that is truly happened due to improper environmental management, making environment can't stand against disasters," said Maitar on Friday.

Maitar said that incident in Wasior showed that timbers cut by forestry companies were dragged down by the flash flood.

"The upper area of Wasior is now a conservation territory. But in 1999-2001, the area was the victim of illegal logging by small forestry companies. The impact is felt now. The deforestation was exaggerated by continuing rains that almost don't stop this year due to the impact of climate change," said Maitar.

He said that the Indonesian government must prevent the future bigger disasters by stopping illegal logging.

He said that a forest moratorium signed by Indonesia and Norway must be escorted by evaluation of forest management permit held by forestry companies. "If the permits are in the prone areas of disaster, the government must revoke them," said Maitar.

He said that Indonesia is always in two sides of coin related to environmental disasters.

"When we are in rainy season, we are always hit by flood and land slide and in dry season, drought always occurs," he said.

Forestry Minister Zulkifli Hasan said that he had found 200,000 meters square of illegal logs during a recent work visit to Sorong, West Papua.

He also said that there was a forest area which was then transformed into a city due to territorial division.

The Meteorology, Climatology and Geophysics Agency predicted that intensifying rainfall in Indonesia will last until March 2011.

According to the agency's Head of Meteorology Information Hary Tirto Djatmiko, there are three things that affect the intensifying rainfall, namely warm temperature in the Indonesian waters, La Nina phenomenon and supply of air mass from Indian Ocean.

In certain areas, he said, the rainfall has reached above 30 millimeter which is above normal. The agency urged people to stay alerted if a heavy rainfall occurs more than two hours.

Source: Xinhua


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