Musthofa Bisri, Sumenep – Storms lingering across the waters of Masalembu Island in Sumenep Regency, East Java for the last three weeks triggered a shortage of staple goods since boat trips to the island have been delayed.
Iba, a resident of Masalembu Island, said that staple goods, such as rice and liquefied petroleum gas (LPG), are the most difficult commodities to buy. Markets have run out of stocks of LPG since two days ago, while only one or two shops sell rice but at a higher price reaching Rp16,000 per kilogram, from normally Rp12,000.
According to Iba, residents who run out of rice usually consume cassava. "But it turns out that cassava stocks are not much anymore," he said via a phone call to Tempo on Monday, February 27, 2023.
Darul Hasyim Fath, a member of the Sumenep Regional Legislative Council (DPRD) from Masalembu, confirmed Iba's complaint. According to him, trading activities to and from the island have stopped since 20 days ago.
Masalembu residents already know that a storm often hit the island for four months between December and March every year. The storm will usually last for one week. But this time, the storm cycle was unpredictable. It came non-stop for three consecutive weeks without a break, causing food stocks to run low.
Darul hoped that the Sumenep Regency Government and the East Java Provincial Government will quickly seek solutions to prevent the food crisis on Masalembu Island from getting worse. He argued that warships belonging to the Indonesian Military (TNI) can be deployed to supply basic necessities because they are resistant to storms.
"The Sumenep Police had actually planned to send the basic necessities, but was canceled due to the storm," said the PDIP politician who is also the chairman of Sumenep DPRD Commission I.