Jakarta (ANTARA) - The government will provide clean water for the community as an anticipatory step against drought caused by the El Nino phenomenon, Coordinating Minister for Human Development and Culture Muhadjir Effendy said on Wednesday.

"We will support water supply, especially for the grassroots community in the form of clean and drinking water," he informed in Jakarta.

El Nino is a natural phenomenon of warming sea surface temperatures to above-normal levels in the central Pacific Ocean. The phenomenon can increase the potential for cloud growth in the central Pacific Ocean and reduce rainfall in the Indonesian region.

Decreased rainfall can lead to a shortage of water supply for agricultural and other business activities as well as for meeting the daily needs of residents, and it can increase the potential for forest and land fires, Effendy said.

The National Disaster Mitigation Agency (BNPB) has already mapped out areas that have the potential for drought and forest fires, he added. An intervention will be carried out in these areas to minimize the impact of El Nino.

"BNPB will be responsible for the mapping," he said.

Meanwhile, to help them overcome crop failure due to drought, the government will provide assistance to affected farmers, Effendy said. The provision of the assistance will be similar to the one provided by President Joko Widodo (Jokowi) for agricultural land destroyed by flooding.

"President Jokowi has approved flood assistance for our farmers. There is also a possibility of assistance for farmers who may experience drought but I have not received direction," he said.

Earlier, the head of state had asked government ministries and agencies to anticipate the impact of El Nino, including the possibility of a long drought that would affect the national economy.

"Anticipate the potential for a long dry season due to El Nino," the President urged.

He said the water supply from more than 5 thousand reservoirs and 38 dams built by the government must be managed properly to deal with the impact of El Nino.

The President then underlined the importance of reducing the risk of forest and land fires during the dry season.

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Translator: Asep Firmansyah, Resinta S
Editor: Azis Kurmala
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