Minister of Villages instructs village leaders to anticipate La Niña

Minister of Villages, Disadvantaged Areas and Transmigration (Mendes PDTT) Abdul Halim Iskandar. (Photo: Prive. Doc)

IO – The Minister of Villages, Dis- advantaged Areas, and Trans- migration (Mendes PDTT) Abdul Halim Iskandar has urged village heads, assistants, and leaders throughout Indonesia to make various efforts to anticipate the La Niña storms that have the potential to cause disaster. In a letter sent on October 16, it was stated that La Niña, with its strong winds whipping up wet air in the rainy season, could increase the potential for floods and landslides. Since September 2020 has entered the rainy sea- son this exacerbates the potential for disaster.

The Minister has instructed all village heads to take anticipa- tory steps, for example by clean- ing waterways, strengthening flood barriers or embankments to prevent landslides, making or updating evacuation route signs, disaster mitigation and others. “It is also important for village heads to collect data on village residents who live in disaster-prone loca- tions such as on riverbanks, on or under the cliffs, on bare hills, etc. so anticipation and map- ping efforts become clearer,” said Minister Abdul Halim at the vir- tual press conference in Jakarta, Monday, October 19.

The Minister announced that currently there are still special village funds that can be used by the Village Cash Workforce Program (PKTD) until December 2020, after part of it is disbursed for Village Direct Cash Assistance (BLT). The funds can be used for activities to anticipate hydro me- teorological disasters which are likely to occur frequently towards the end of this year. PKTD funds can also be used to provide loca- tions for handling victims near disaster-prone areas, to facili- tate and speed up the evacuation process. “However, various disas- ter management must still use health protocols and continue to coordinate with the local disaster relief agency,” he explained.

Regarding the mechanism, the use of village funds for the disaster is through village delib- eration decisions, both starting from pre-disaster, such as in mitigation, awareness training, disaster training, and construc- tion of evacuation routes. “Until the time of disaster or emergency response, such as evacuations and the erection of public kitch- ens, including the disbursement of village funds to buy refugee tents, blankets, and others,” he explained. (dan)