Residents told to stay alert during extreme weather

The Bali Disaster Mitigation Agency (BPBD) called on residents to remain cautious when near hills and rivers, even after only short period of rainfall, as these areas were prone to landslides and flooding. The agency reported that heavy rains and strong winds on Thursday evening had caused landslides in five regencies. Five people were recorded as having died in the incidents. While Buleleng regency experienced the worst landslide, other areas affected were Bangli, Tabanan, Gianyar and Badung.

The BPBD’s operations chief, I Gede Jaya Serata, said that the agency had been visiting residents in disaster-prone areas to disseminate information on preventive measures, including in Pupuan and Penebel, two hilly locations in Tabanan. Besides these two were Gianyar’s Payangan and Tegalalang, which were prone to landslides and flooding. “We have summoned residents and informed them about potential incidents that could happen in their areas,” Jaya said Monday.

“If it rains, even for a couple of hours, then residents should stay alert,” he added. Jaya said that those who died and those whose houses had been damaged lived near rivers. “They didn’t have time to evacuate as the flood took them by surprise, although it only rained for several hours,” he said. The Meteorology, Climatology and Geophysics Agency (BMKG) has warned that persistent rains would continue in several areas, at least until the end of January.

Meanwhile for Denpasar, BPBD said that the city was prone to floods and small-scale tornados. One area often flooded was Bumi Ayu complex in Sanur. “The water catchment there is bad and the hotels and houses there are lower than the roads,” Jaya said. Several weeks ago, strong winds hit Denpasar and damaged dozens of houses. According to Jaya, the agency would get assistance from rescue teams in other cities if it could not handle the situation, and all losses incurred by residents were covered by the government.

Over the last several years, natural calamities have become a major threat to the island’s residents, both in the rainy and dry seasons. During drought periods, forest fires appear in areas like Mount Agung, Mount Batur and the West Bali National Park. Jaya hoped that Bali would not worsen and suffer like other provinces. Meanwhile, some Hindu high priests have proposed a spiritual approach to prevent further calamities.

Bali Governor Made Mangku Pastika on Thursday held a gathering with local leaders to discuss the best possible ways to mitigate disaster impacts. Hindu leaders cited the current time as Kaliyuga, or the dark age, as there was an imbalance and disharmony between the Buana Agung (universe) and Buana Alit (humans). Thus, they suggested that the provincial administration conduct a Pemelepeh Jagat ceremony, a ritual to ask God for safety and peace, at the Kentel Gumi Temple in Klungkung, on a date to be discussed later.

source : bali daily

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