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Did Heavy Rainfall Cause the Flood in South Kalimantan? Environmentalist Did Not Think So

Early this year, South Kalimantan was hit by flood. Was the rainfall the only cause?

Source: Chris Gallagher [7]


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On January 14, South Kalimantan was hit by widespread flooding after heavy rainfall. According to the Data Information and Communication National Disaster Management Agency, the flood inundated 10 districts, killed at least 15 people and displaced more than 100,000 people from their homes [1].


The recent flood in South Kalimantan has generated a heated debate regarding the cause of the flood, ranging from unpredictable weather to climate change.


Weather anomaly

According to Siti Nurbaya Bakar, Minister of Environment and Forestry Indonesia, the main cause of the flood was weather anomaly caused by heavy rainfall, which exceeded the capacity of the Barito River. She also added that there was also a large difference between the height of the upstream and downstream of the river, which increases the flood risk in the area. She firmly denied deforestation as the cause behind the flood [2].


Deforestation in South Kalimantan

However, Arie Rompas, Head of Greenpeace Indonesia Forest Campaign Team, refuted this reasoning and claimed that deforestation and severe forest degradation triggered the flood [3].


According to Muhadjir Effendy, Coordinating Minister for Human Development and Cultural Affairs supported this claim by pointing out the flood was the result of natural exploitation in South Kalimantan [4].For example, from the 1.8 million hectares of watershed of the Barito River, the forest area declined by 62.8% [5].

Read also: Deforestation in Indonesia: Palm Oil, Biodiversity Loss, and Global Warming

Climate Change

Climate change is a change in the world temperature which not only affects various aspects of human life, but also the environment, one of which is weather patterns.


One might ask what climate change has to do with the recent flood in South Kalimantan. Studies have shown that large storms will become more frequent and more intense as the global temperature continues to rise, and this means higher flood risks as extreme weather is one of the leading causes of floods [6].

Visit our forum to ask any question about Climate Change!

Source(s):

[1]https://bnpb.go.id/berita/-update-10-kabupaten-kota-terdampak-banjir-di-kalimantan-selatan#

[2]https://www.cnnindonesia.com/nasional/20210120142037-20-596171/siti-nurbaya-penyebab-banjir-kalsel-anomali-cuaca

[3]https://www.cnbcindonesia.com/news/20210129123140-4-219643/ini-dia-sederet-alasan-diklaim-pemicu-banjir-besar-kalsel

[4]https://www.cnnindonesia.com/nasional/20210121180038-20-596827/muhadjir-disebut-akui-banjir-kalsel-terkait-eksploitasi-alam

[5]https://www.cnnindonesia.com/nasional/20210127185905-20-599242/rekomendasi-lingkungan-klhk-ke-gubernur-kalsel-soal-banjir

[6]https://www.unenvironment.org/news-and-stories/story/how-climate-change-making-record-breaking-floods-new-normal#:~:text=Floods%20are%20made%20more%20likely,long%2Dterm%20global%20climate%20change.&text=Extreme%20floods%20can%20be%20triggered,or%20a%20combination%20of%20these.


Photo(s):

[7]https://unsplash.com/photos/4zxp5vlmvnI

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