Flood-hit SE Sulawesi’s forests need to be restored: BNPB

Kendari, SE Sulawesi (ANTARA) – Indonesia’s Disaster Mitigation Agency (BNPB) has reiterated the need for forest restoration and rehabilitation in South Sulawesi Province recently hit by flooding to recover the lost functions and benefits.

“Water is a source of life, but it will serve no purpose if it cannot be absorbed into the Earth. The flood disaster is a glaring reality that can serve as a lesson for us all,” Lt General Doni Monardo, the BNPB chief, stated here on Monday while visiting an emergency shelter of flood victims in North Konawe and Konawe Districts, Southeast Sulawesi.

He called for restoring the forest’s functions to improve its water-absorbing capabilities, so it would help avert flooding.

The provincial government should form a team constituting environmentalists, geologists, and other stakeholders to unearth the reasons behind flooding and landslides that struck Konawe and to come up with solutions to prevent flooding in future, he emphasized.

The team must also put forth suggestions concerning long-term solutions to stop environmental degradation owing to the conversion of forests into plantation and mining areas, he reiterated.

Southeast Sulawesi Governor Ali Mazi praised the suggestion to form a team accountable for coming up with solutions to conduct forest restoration and rehabilitation.

The BNPB chief, accompanied by a delegation of the House of Representatives’ (DPR’s) Commission VIII, led by legislator Ali Tahir Parasong, paid a visit to flood-affected Southeast Sulawesi.

DPR’s Commission VIII had disbursed financial assistance of over Rp4.2 billion for flood victims in Southeast Sulawesi on June 23, 2019.

Flooding in North Konawe District reportedly caused financial losses amounting to Rp674.8 billion, Ruksamin, the North Kunawe district head, stated.

The flooding destroyed four bridges and 370 homes along with inundating four other bridges, 1,962 homes, 14 elementary schools, five junior high schools, a senior high school, 17 kindergartens, and at least four community health centers.

Floods also submerged 970.3 hectares of rice fields, 83.5 hectares of corn fields, 11 hectares of other commodity fields, and 727.4 hectares of ponds.

The major flooding in North Konawe led to the displacement of 9,609 people and affected 18,765.

Source: Antara News