Bencana Alam di Indonesia

Teks ini hanya tersedia dalam bahasa Inggris

Being located on the Pacific Ring of Fire (an area with a lot of tectonic activity), Indonesia has to cope with the constant risk of volcanic eruptions, earthquakes, floods and tsunamis. On several occasions during the last 15 years, Indonesia has made global headlines due to devastating natural disasters that resulted in the deaths of hundreds of thousands of human and animal lives, plus having a destructive effect on the land area (including infrastructure, and thus resulting in economic costs). Extreme wet or dry seasons can ruin food crop harvests, trigger inflation and put severe financial pressure on the poorer segments of the Indonesian population. Lastly, man-made natural disasters (such as forest fires brought on by slash-and-burn culture) can have far-reaching environmental consequences. 

One important note is that Indonesia's notorious weak infrastructure - brought on by mismanagement, lack of skills or corruption - in fact aggravates the resulting situation after a natural disaster has made its impact felt, meaning that natural disasters in Indonesia can cause more casualties and more damage than it should.

Volcano Eruptions in Indonesia

Indonesia is the country that contains the most active volcanoes of all countries in the world. The Eurasian Plate, Pacific Plate and Indo-Australian Plate are three active tectonic plates that cause the subduction zones that form these volcanoes. Indonesia is estimated to have 129 volcanoes, all carefully observed by the Centre of Volcanology and Geological Hazard Mitigation (Pusat Vulkanologi dan Mitigasi Bencana Geologi), because a number of Indonesian volcanoes show continuous activity.

There is at least one significant volcano eruption in Indonesia every year. However, usually it does not cause great damage to the environment or cause casualties as most of the active volcanoes are located in isolated regions.

Some notable volcano eruptions in Indonesia's history are listed below:

  Volcano   Location   Date of Eruption    Casualties
  Merapi   Central Java   03 November 2010           138
  Kelut   East Java   26 April 1966           212
  Agung   Bali   17 March 1963         1,148
  Merapi   Central Java   25 November 1930         1,369
  Kelut   East Java   19 May 1919         5,110
  Awu   North Sulawesi   07 June 1892         1,532
  Krakatau   Sunda Strait   26 August 1883        36,600
  Galunggung   West Java   08 October 1822         4,011
  Tambora   Sumbawa   10 April 1815        71,000+

Apart from taking human lives, a volcanic eruption can result in considerable damage to the local economies by hurting small and medium enterprises that are involved in tourism, culinary, commercial accommodation, agriculture, plantation, and livestock. A positive development is that volcano eruptions take less human lives today due to better volcano observation methods in combination with better organized emergency evacuations.

Earthquakes in Indonesia

Earthquakes are probably the biggest threat regarding natural disasters in Indonesia as they come sudden and can strike in populous areas, such as the bigger cities. Earthquakes with a magnitude of around five or six on the scale of Richter happen almost on a daily basis in Indonesia but usually cause no or little damage. When the magnitude becomes over seven on the scale of Richter, an earthquake can potentially do a lot of damage. Yearly, two or three earthquakes with a magnitude of seven or higher occur in Indonesia and cause casualties and damage the infrastructure or environment. Below is a selected list with recent earthquakes that caused severe damage:  

  Location             Date    Magnitude    Casualties
  Sumatra    25 October 2010          7.7          435
  Sumatra    30 September 2009          7.6        1,117
  Java    17 July 2006          7.7          730
  Java    26 May 2006          6.3        5,780
  Sumatra    28 March 2005          8.6        1,313
  Sumatra    26 December 2004          9.2       283,106

The high number of Indonesian casualties is partly inflicted by the bad state of some housing facilities and infrastructure. This is why a moderate earthquake can in fact result in many casualties, the collapse of many buildings and the displacement of many people. A World Bank publication (in October 2010) expressed its concern about the devastating effects an 8.5 magnitude earthquake can have if it happens in a mega-city such as Jakarta.

Tsunamis in Indonesia

A submarine earthquake or volcanic eruption in the ocean can cause a tsunami water wave which can have devastating effects on the people and objects near the sea. In 2004 a large part of the world was rocked by the Indian Ocean earthquake and subsequent tsunami, killing over 167,000 people in Indonesia (mainly Aceh) alone. Although a massive tsunami such as the 2004 tsunami is rare, the Sumatra region is often startled by offshore earthquakes that can potentially trigger a tsunami. With the 2004 tsunami still fresh in mind, the level of fear is high. Often Indonesians who live in villages or cities close to the coast, flee to the hills (located more inland) after an earthquake has taken place. On average, once every five years a large tsunami happens in Indonesia, usually on the islands of Sumatra and Java. Generally, damage to the infrastructure exceeds the loss of lives. There are warning systems installed on many coastal areas but there have been reports that not all are functioning properly. 

Floods in Indonesia

Indonesia's rainy season (which runs from December to March) can bring plenty of rainfall. In combination with deforestation and waterways clogged with debris, it can cause rivers to overflow and result in floods. Floods and landslides occur in most parts of Indonesia and can cause hundreds of casualties, destroy houses and other infrastructure, and ruin local businesses. Even in a mega-city as Jakarta, floods occur regularly due to weak water management. In January 2013, a large part of Jakarta was flooded, affecting more than 100.000 households and resulting in the loss of lives of more than 20 people.