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Drought conditions in Australia spread north as Indonesia feels the bite of the big dry

Drought conditions in Australia spread north as Indonesia feels the bite of the big dry Email Drought conditions in Australia spread nort...

Drought conditions in Australia spread north as Indonesia feels the bite of the big dry

Email Drought conditions in Australia spread north as Indonesia feels the bite of the big dry

Updated September 20, 2018 11:03:23

Rice farmer Ampir squats in a dry rice paddy Photo: Rice farmer Ampir said the dry season had lasted twice as long as usual. (ABC News: Phil Hemingway) Related Story: Defying the drought: Farmers who braced for the big dry Related Story: State of the drought: How bad is it and why has it been so dry? Map: Indonesia

The drought in A ustralia is having an impact on its neighbours, with 5 million people in Indonesia suffering from an extended dry season.

Hot, dry air intensified by drought conditions in Australia has circulated north, contributing to water shortages in 4,000 Indonesian villages.

Pak Siswanto, the director of climatology at Indonesia's Meteorological, Climatological and Geophysical Agency, said the weather conditions in Indonesia followed on from what was happening in its larger southern neighbour.

"The dry season in Indonesia is actually forced by the wind circulation coming from Australian continent," he said.

"When we have dry air and less moisture circulated from Australia toward Indonesia, it modulates the dry season in Indonesia."

Rice farmers struggling to make ends meet

Nurdin, a far   mer, squats in a very dry rice field Photo: Nurdin said he only got 250 kilograms of rice this season, compared to the usual five tonnes. (ABC News: Phil Hemingway)

The island of Java, Indonesia's most populous island, has been hit hardest by the extended dry season, with some farmers saying they have not seen any rain in four months.

In the Tangerang regency, west of Jakarta, rice farmer of 15 years Nurdin said his harvest was well down on previous seasons.

"The crops have stopped growing, the roots have died, so the harvest has failed this season," Nurdin said.

"For a hectare of rice paddy, we usually get at least five tonnes of rice.

"This season we only got five sacks of rice. That's only 250 kilograms. Far out!"

A close-up image of Rice farmer Ampir, standing in a dry paddy Photo: Indonesian rice farmer Ampir, from the Tangerang regency west of Jakarta, stands in a dried paddy field. (ABC News: Phil Hemingway)

Ampir has been farming nearby paddies for 20 years and said this dry season had lasted twice as long as usual.

"It's a difficult time for the family's finances for sure, a totally dark time for us," he told ABC.

"With the crops failing us, we'll do labour jobs to survive.

"Anything from digging sand for construction or cutting grass on the farm. Anything that makes money for the family will do."

Government delivering water as Indonesians wait for wet season

A child sits on the front of a scooter Photo: The Indonesian Government has been delivering water to residents in Pamoyanan twice a week. (ABC News: David Lipson)

In the village of Pamoyanan in West Java, locals line up on the main road, holding buckets, bottles and plastic tubs.

A woman carries two buckets of fresh water Photo: Residents have been collecting water in various containers. (ABC News: David Lipson)

Their well ran dry several weeks ago and now they are totally reliant on the Government, which has been delivering water by the truckload twice a week.

Samah, a mother in the vil lage, said the closest water source, an almost-dry creek, was not good enough to drink.

"I feel so sad, as this crisis has affected my husband's job," she said.

"As the family provider he's had to find and collect clean water for us รข€¦ but the water quality is bad. Not drinkable.

"We need to buy bottled water for the kids to drink."

So far, the Indonesian Government has delivered 30 million litres of water into villages across Java.

There have also been numerous grass and forest fires across Indonesia, though not nearly as many as burned during the severe drought of 2015.

The wet season is due to arrive between October and November, but forecasters are predicting the rains will come late in some areas.

"It is God's will," Nurdin said with a smile.

"Whether God will give me a harvest or failing crops. I've got to accept it. I'll just plant again. That's life.&q uot;

Topics: drought, disasters-and-accidents, weather, indonesia, java

First posted September 20, 2018 08:58:59

Source: Google News Indonesia | Netizen 24 Indonesia

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