Egi Adyatama, Jakarta – Greenpeace Indonesia argued that the South Kalimantan floods in mid-January were caused by deforestation and severe forest degradation, refuting President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo's saying that it was due to extreme weather.
"Jokowi's statement that blames heavy rainfall is surely unacceptable. Because we have the fact that there is no single cause," said the environmental advocacy group campaigner Arie Rompas in an online discussion on Friday, January 29, 2021.
According to Arie, the water catchment area (DAS) of the Barito River and Maluka River had significantly decreased from 1990.
From the 6.2-million-hectare DAS of the Barito River, the forest area dropped by 49 percent to only 3.5 million hectares, while the Maluka River was only left with 0.97 percent of the total 88,000-hectare forest area or equals to 854 hectares.
"The facts in Kalimantan showed that deforestation and the use of lands significantly contribute to the flooding in South Kalimantan," Arie remarked, adding that deforestation had occurred since 1973 to date and led to climate change.
According to the Rapid Reaction Team of the Regional Resources Development Center from the Agency for the Assessment and Application of Technology (BPPT), the total loss caused by the South Kalimantan floods reached IDR 1,349 trillion.