Such a weather phenomenon is quite normal in Indonesia, as the country is prone to hydrometeorological disasters, such as flooding in rainy season and wildfires or severe drought during the dry season.
In East Nusa Tenggara (NTT), for instance, 11 districts have been hit by the severe dry season. The districts, which include East Manggarai, Nagekeo, Ende, Lembata, East Sumba, Rote Ndao, Kupang, North Timor Tengah, Malaka, and Belu, have received no rains for more than two months.
In Central, East and West Java Provinces, wildfires, triggered by severe dry weather, hit forest areas on at least nine mountains, but local authorities managed to extinguish the blazes.
Among the affected mountains were Mount Merbabu, Mount Sumbing, Mount Slamet, and Mount Sindoro in Central Java Province; Mount Argopuro and Mount Sadran in East Java Province; Mount Ciremai in West Java Province; and Mount Lawu located on the border of the provinces of Central and East Java.
On Sumatra Islands, however, floods triggered by incessant downpours have inundated several provinces, including Aceh, North Sumatra, West Sumatra and Riau.
In Langkat, North Sumatra, floods submerged rice fields measuring 118 hectares in Stabat and Binjai Sub-districts, while Sei Blengking river spilled over its bank, said Miswandi, a local agriculture officer.
Additionally, seven hectares of corn fields, located in Banyumas and Kwala Bingei villages in Stabat, were also flooded.
The local agriculture office has deployed several officers to monitor the conditions of flood-affected farming areas in Langkat, and to help local farmers.
Officials note that the floods have spread to four sub-districts in Langkat, namely Stabat, Secanggang, Tanjungpura and Sei Lepan, Noto Atmojo, as reported on Oct 12, 2018.
A total of 1,427 homes have been affected by the flooding in the four sub-districts.
Floods also hit another district of North Sumatra, namely Mandailing Natal (Madina) and claimed 17 lives.
In Madina, flooding and landslides affected 11 sub-districts, including Natal, Lingga Bayu, Muara Batang Gadis, Naga Juang, North Panyabungan, Bukit Malintang, Ulu Pungkut, Nopan and Batang Natal.
Of the 17 casualties, 12 were elementary school students in Ulu Pungkut sub-district, three workers repairing a road culvert in Mura Batang Gadis district, and two people whose car plunged into Aek Batang Gadis river during flooding.
The 12 students were among 29 elementary school students who were stricken by the flood in Muara Saladi village. Twelve students were rescued and seven of them were rushed to a nearby hospital for medical treatment.
Rescuers also managed to evacuate two teachers who survived the flooding.
In Muara Saladi village, Ulu Pungkut sub-district, floods swept away 12 houses and damaged nine others. A medical clinic, an elementary school building, and a government office, were also damaged.
In West West Sumatra, a total of 11 sub-districts in West Pasaman District, were flooded on Oct 11 and 12, according to the local Disaster Mitigation Office (BPBD).
"So far, the official has continued to distribute aid and evacuate the people affected by flooding," Tri Wahluyo, head of West Pasaman BPBD, stated.
Flooding occurred in Wonosari Kinali, Simpang Tiga, Jambak Luhak Nan Duo, Kapa, Sasak, Batang Saman Kecamatan Pasaman, Gunung Tuleh, Sungai Aur, Koto Sawah Ujung Gading, Ranah Batahan, Air Bangis, and Parit.
The flooding submerged a total of 3,162 houses accommodating 14,348 people in West Pasaman.
"We focus on evacuating people trapped in the house, on the bridge, and in other places to move to higher ground," he added.
In Aceh Province, floods have affected Aceh Singkil, South Aceh, North Aceh, and Aceh Jaya Districts.
The flooding inundated 24 villages in the eight sub-districts of Aceh Singkil Districts, and affected 24,321 people.
In Aceh Jaya District, floods, triggered by incessant heavy rains, have inundated hundreds of homes in seven sub-districts, since Oct 15.
Downpours caused four rivers - Teunon, Suak Beukah, Panga and Krueng Oen, to spill over their banks, T Irvan TB, district head of Aceh Jaya, said here on Oct 17, while visiting flood-hit Gampong Blank Baro, Teunom sub-district.
The seven sub-districts affected by floodwaters reaching a height of up to 1.5 meters, are Teunom, Panga, Pasie Raya, Darul Kamal, Setia Bakti, Krueng Sabe and Sampoiniet.
The flooding has affected a total of 1,410 families or 4,204 people.
Meanwhile, 29 villages in seven sub-districts in South Aceh Districts, were also flooded.
The flooding submerged at least three schools in Central Trumon sub-district. Flood waters reaching a height of up to two meters also forced local inhabitants to evacuate themselves to safer places.
In North Aceh, floods have spread to a wider area, forcing victims to take refuge in safer places.
Incessant heavy rains caused the Krueng Kerueto River to overflow its bank and inundate more villages, Adjunct Senior Commissioner Ian Rizkyan, head of the North Aceh Police, said on Oct 17, 2018.
In Matang Kuli Sub-district, 22 villages, including Alue Tho, Ceubrek, Pante Pirak, Munye Pirak, Siren, Lawang, Hagu, Meuria, Mee, and Tanjong Tgk Ali, were flooded.
In Tanah Luas Sub-district, floods submerged Teupin Me, Blang, Tanjong Mesjid, Serba Jaman Baro, and Rayeuk Kuta.
In early October 2018, in Riau Province, foods triggered by incessant heavy rains, submerged 1,070 houses in Bantan and Bengkalis sub-districts, Bengkalis district.
In Bantan, some 360 homes were inundated, Jamaluddin, secretary of the Bengkalis disaster mitigation office, said here, Sunday.
In Bengkalis sub-district, floodwaters at height of up to 110 centimeters submerged 710 homes, comprising 200 in Teluk Latak village, 160 Pedekik village, 30 in Damon, 120 in Wonosari, 30 in Senggoro, 150 in Simpang Ayam, and 20 in Sebauk village.
The local disaster mitigation officers helped evacuate flood victims to higher grounds by using rubber boats.
The authorities have warned people living in flood-prone areas, particularly in Bantan, to move to safer places because more downpours are forecast to fall in next few days.
Earlier, the National Meteorology, Climatology and Geophysics Agency (BMKG) has warned that several parts of the country are prone to flash floods in the ongoing rainy season.
BMKG Chairman Dwikorita Karnawati in a statement issued in Jakarta recently said that provinces prone to flooding were Aceh, North Sumatra, West Sumatra, Bengkulu, Central Sulawesi, Maluku, North Maluku, and Papua.
"Those regions are prone to natural disasters, as they are located around active tectonic zones, such as at the foot of hilly areas that are steep and elongated," he added.
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