Bali’s deputy governor admits vast land development has made flooding worse
Bali’s deputy governor, Tjokorda Oka Artha Ardhana Sukawati, says he agrees with the suggestion that extensive land development on the island has worsened flash floods, which killed seven people during the last week.
Earlier this week, the Indonesian Environment Forum (Walhi) said frequent land use changes in Bali, coupled with extreme weather conditions, have triggered flash floods and deadly landslides.
Cok Ace, as the deputy governor is popularly known, says he agrees with Walhi’s assessment and calls for more responsible land development on the island.
“If we look at the trees that are washed away by the flash floods, we can see that they were felled decades ago. So I ask for more supervision at the source of the land developments, and that they do not cut down the trees so freely, ”he said Thursday evening.
Walhi’s Bali chapter cited the construction of the LNG terminal in Sanur and the Gilimanuk toll road as two major projects that have significantly hampered Bali’s ability to deal with natural disasters.
“For the administration, it’s a slap in the face and a call for introspection. They can’t just open up to people and tell them to be patient and strong after another disaster. But they don’t involve people when they establish [environmental] regulations,” Walhi Bali manager Made Krisna Dinata said on Tuesday.
Flash floods and landslides have been reported in six regencies namely Karangasem, Jembrana, Tabanan, Bangli, Gianyar and Badung as extreme rains have consistently poured down on the island since October 16. Seven people, including two children, were reportedly killed, either from being buried by a landslide or being swept away by floodwaters.
As of October 19, authorities estimated damage to public property at IDR 6.6 billion ($422,385). The Bali provincial government has set aside IDR 30 billion ($1.9 million) to help people displaced from their homes or otherwise affected.
The #PrayforBali hashtag has been trending throughout the week in Indonesia amid national concern over natural disasters on the Island of the Gods.