Jakarta (ANTARA News) - The People`s Coalition for Fisheries Justice (Kiara) has asked the government to declare the current extreme weather conditions a national disaster as they were preventing thousands of Indonesian fishermen from making their living.

"There are 53 districts and cities in Indonesia which have been impacted by the present extreme weather conditions and 550,000 people are being victimized. Looking at the facts, we urge the government to declare present extreme weather conditions a national disaster," Kiara Secretary General M Riza Damanik said here on Tuesday.

Riza also criticized the divergence between the data collected by Kiara and those issued Marine and Fisheries Ministry where the latter stated extreme weather had impacted 41 districts and cities in Indonesia and a total of 473,983 people.

"The ministry fails to count the damage done in several areas. In Jakarta province, for example, the ministry only studies areas such as Muara Angke and Thousand Islands while there are also other areas like Cilincing, Marunda and Kali Baru where the fishermen cannot go to the sea due to bad weather," Riza said.

Meanwhile Secretary to an NGO called Coalition of Indonesian Traditional Fishermen (KNTI) Dedy Ramanta said the government was slow in handling the problem faced by fishermen.

He suggested the government to set up an insurance system for Indonesian fishermen to help them survive when harsh conditions happened. He also said the government must accurately note the number of fishermen impacted by extreme weather in Indonesia. Such action was needed to ensure that aid was given to the right persons, he said.

Extreme weather in Indonesia is predicted to last until April 2011. (*)

Editor: Ruslan Burhani
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