Jakarta (ANTARA) - Coordinating Minister for Human Development and Culture (PMK) Muhadjir Effendy has said that measures for anticipating the El Nino phenomenon would be cross-sectoral.

"Later, we will discuss it specifically at the level of the Coordinating Ministry for PMK, across ministries, and many ministries outside PMK coordination. We will coordinate between coordinating ministers," he informed at Soekarno Hatta Airport, Banten, on Monday.

He said President Joko Widodo (Jokowi) has given directions on anticipating the impact of El Nino, which could cause drought in a number of regions.

The directions involve preparing and storing cushion stocks or excess supplies of raw materials to prevent unexpected shortages.

A similar effort had been made by the government this year when some agricultural lands experienced harvest failure due to floods.

Head of the National Disaster Mitigation Agency (BNPB) Suharyanto expressed the hope that the impact of El Nino this year will not be as severe as was witnessed in 2015 and 2019.

Based on information from the BNPB's website, MODIS satellite data detected 129,813 fire hotspots in 2015 with visibility recorded at just 100 meters.

The standard air pollution index (ISPU) stood at more than 2 thousand, which is categorized as very dangerous.

Forests and lands spanning a total area of 2.61 million hectares were burned, causing up to Rp 221 trillion (around US$14.68 billion) in economic losses. Further, education and aviation activities were paralyzed for 2–3 months.

"Hopefully, the 2015 and 2019 incidents will not occur again. For anticipation, we are preparing more facilities and infrastructures compared to the previous years," the BNPB head said.

Suharyanto informed that his agency monitors six priority areas where forest and land fires occur frequently, namely Riau, Jambi, South Sumatra, South Kalimantan, Central Kalimantan, and West Kalimantan.

As of late June 2023, the agency had detected a number of hotspots, all of which were extinguished.

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Translator: Asep Firmansyah, Raka Adji
Editor: Rahmad Nasution
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