Damages due to Indonesia's Natural Disasters Estimated at USD $855 Million
Indonesia has been hit by a number of severe natural disasters in the first two months of 2014. The volcanic eruptions of Mount Sinabung in North Sumatra (which started late last year but still continues today although having become less active) and Mount Kelud in East Java led to a total of 20 casualties, hundreds of thousands of evacuees and damaged infrastructure and crops. Moreover, due to torrential rains amid a peak of the rainy season, severe floods ravaged a number of Indonesian regions and cities (particularly Jakarta and Manado).
Lastly, forest fires in parts of Sumatra and Kalimantan are damaging the country's natural beauty. Reportedly, in Riau (Sumatra) there are currently 1,200 hotspots. With the dry season beginning in April, which will burden forest fire control, the National Disaster Mitigation Agency (BNPB) has been ordered by Indonesia's President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono to assist the provinces. It is estimated that around 95 percent of these fires are caused by human action, either individual or corporate.
These natural disasters were partly responsible for Indonesia's relatively high inflation rate in January 2014 at 1.07 percent (month-to-month), implying that on a year-on-year basis inflation remains high at 8.22 percent.
Data from BNPB show that economic damages brought on by the aforementioned natural disasters total IDR 10 trillion (USD $855 million) in the first two months of the year. The agency calculated this figure by analyzing the impact of these disasters on the following categories: housing, infrastructure, productive economy, social cultural and cross-sectoral.