Indonesia’s disaster agency, BNPB, has said that it’s expecting El Nino to harshly impact Indonesia with an extended dry season.
The primary concern of the BNPB is the drought and its potential impact on the lives and livelihoods of people across the archipelago.
The agency has organized for extra crop planting in the event that drought should impact the harvest. BNPB is also encouraging people to use save on water as the dry season continues.
The fire risk has also been heightened, specifically for Jambi, Riau, South Sumatera, West Kalimantan, South Kalimantan and Central Kalimantan. In Central Kalimantan alone, BNPB has provided an additional 1600 pieces of firefighting equipment to assist with fire prevention and suppression.
The monthly hotspot count for August in Indonesia hit around 4,500. This is compared to around 6,700 for 2019 and 13,600 for 2015. These were the most recent peaks for fires across Indonesia. BNPB expects the full effects of the dry season to peak through September and October.
The palm oil industry most likely to get blamed
Due to this, extra resources are sought to be mobilized in the palm oil industry, in terms of preventing and suppressing fires. Often these incidents results in substantial economic, social and environmental losses.
This has been lost on many news outlets reporting on fires in Indonesia in the past. The Guardian recently blamed Hawaii’s devastating fires on the development of plantation agriculture over the 150 years.
The Indonesian palm oil industry is most likely to expect similar treatment by activists, blaming the palm oil plantations for the fires. This is despite newer research shows, that approximately 95% of fires in Indonesia has no link to palm oil plantations.