Indonesia – Floods, Disease and Food Shortages

After deadly floods across Java (most recently Kudus), Sumatra, Sulawesi, and Kalimantan Islands, the island of Bali has now suffered from flooding and landslides after torrential rain and strong winds on Thursday 23 to Friday 24 January 2014.

Bali Floods

Initial reports from the local office of the Disaster Mitigation Agency (BPBD) say that at least 5 people have been killed, several injured, and at least 60 people evacuated. Several villages have been flooded in as many as five separate regencies on the island.

The worst affected area is said to be Buleleng, where there have been floods and landslides in Kubutambahan, Sawan, Seririt, Sukasada and Busungbiu. Others areas of Bali have also been badly hit, including Bangli, Tabanan, Gianyar and Badung.

The rain started around midday on Thursday 23 January and continued throughout the day until early Friday morning.

Disease in Jakarta after Floods

The Head of the West Jakarta Health Sub-Department said in an announcement yesterday that as many as 20,263 people in Jakarta have suffered from waterborne or flood related diseases since the floods first began around 13 January 2014. Skin infections, diarrhoea and respiratory infections are the most common issues, although around 30% are suffering from more acute respiratory infections. It is thought that many of the ill – around 20% – are young children or babies.

Food Shortages Predicted across Indonesia

After almost 4 weeks of constant flooding, it is understandable that people’s concerns have turned to food shortages. When 250,000 hectares of paddy fields have been inundated across Indonesia, it may well be inevitable that rice and other crops will be in scarce supply. Food price increases may well follow.

Today Winarno Thohir, the chief of the Indonesian Farmers and Fishermen Association (KTNA), said “We should not underestimate the impact of large floods in Java, which supplies 60 percent of the nations food needs.”

This is likely in response to a statement made by the Coordinating Minister for Economic Affairs, Hatta Rajasa, earlier this week who claimed that “Reports from across the country reveal that our food staple stocks are adequate. Since there are no shortages, the prices of food commodities and food items have been relatively stable,”

Sources: Antara News; Berita Jakarta; Jakarta Post