East Nusa Tenggara (NTT) as an archipelago province is currently facing various challenges of ecological sustainability. Geographically, as an archipelagic province that has a majority of small islands, it has its vulnerabilities.
Climate change will certainly hurt the existence of small islands in NTT due to rising sea levels which have the potential to lose islands.
In addition, being close to the southern hemisphere, the province of NTT is often directly affected by extreme weather.
“In the threat of the climate crisis, the government in NTT is perpetuating development that is not environmentally friendly and is not pro-small islands,” said Umbu Wulang Tanaamahu Paranggi, Executive Director of WALI NTT to Mongabay Indonesia, Friday (21/10/2022).
Umbu Wulang said the industries that continued to be given the red carpet were the monoculture, tourism, mining, and infrastructure industries. The industry has created an ecological crisis in NTT.
This was stated by Umbu Wulang in a public discussion with the theme “Challenges for People’s Management Areas in Coastal, Sea and Small Islands” in Bubuatagamu Village, South Solor District, East Flores Regency, Friday (21/10/2022).
The discussion was attended by the Executive Directors of WALHI Riau and DKI Jakarta, ICEL, NGOs on the mainland of Flores and Lembata as well as community representatives from small islands in NTT.
Umbu Wulang said if we check the NTT Province RPJMD and RPJP, small islands practically do not get a place and are only given a small portion.
But in tourism development, he said, it is small islands that are capitalized to bring in big profits. He gave an example, premium tourism in Labuan Bajo where Komodo Island contributes big profits to the state and investors.
Barn on the Sea
Director of the Tanah Ile Boleng Foundation (YTIB) Veronika Lamahoda in this discussion explained the difficulty of advocating for the people on Solor Island to care about marine ecosystems.
As Vero said, in 2016 when he first arrived in Bubuatagamu Village, he heard bombs in the sea every day.
The fishing bombings on the south coast of solor in front of the Bubuatagamu Village area are more than 50 times a day and are carried out by 20-30 motorized boats.
Vero said that the challenge of administering a managed area lies not only in the hands of the government but also in the community.
He said, for too long the affairs of natural resources have been focused on and only become the power of the government so that it is not wrong for the community to become passive and not think it is important to take care of them and even if they have also become destroyers.
Vero said that in the Lamaholot ethnic community, there is a name kebang or granary and that is what they are trying to encourage to build in the sea.
The granary is divided into compartments, there for short-term and long-term consumption so the sea is divided into zones.
In addition, the community says we can preserve it but later fishermen from outside enjoy it too and they don’t know that our sea is preserved.
Now YTIB is focused on developing an area or zone called bang covering an area of 61 Ha in South Solor waters which is protected by custom. Whoever violates it will be subject to customary sanctions and a management will also be formed.
In the second year of YTIB’s assistance, the fishing bombings began to decrease. YTIB together with the community and the village government installed buoys in the sea and fenced off.
Territory Threats Manage
Satrio Manggala Manager of Legal Studies and National Executive Policy for WALHI said, for WALHI, there is a threat to people’s management of areas on the coast and small islands.
First, existing industries such as mining. Apart from that, specifically for fishermen, there is a new policy regarding measured fishing.
This policy from the Ministry of Maritime Affairs and Fisheries (KKP) provides accommodation to large companies that have technology and large ships to carry out fishing.
The second threat is the new extractive industry. First, he explained, tourism with the National Tourism Strategic Area (KSPN) policy. Second, is marine conservation where the direction is for the state to start selling the concept of the blue economy, selling carbon in the sea area.
Satrio emphasized that this policy made human relations that depend on the sea be ‘pulled’ outside when the sea area was designated as a conservation zone.
He explained that as of November 2021, there were already 2,919,870.93 hectares of coastal areas controlled by 1,405 Mining Business Permits (IUP) such as manganese, copper, oil, gas, sand, and others.
In the sea area, he explained, there are 687,999 hectares and 324 IUPs in the sea area which are mostly oil and gas mining. This resulted in 35 thousand fishermen’s families being affected.
He continued, in recent years on Rupat Island, Riau Province, there has been reclamation which has made the ecosystem and ecology change and displaced people living on the coast.
There are 88 KSPNs until 2025 in coastal areas and small islands. The presence of the KSPN, said Satrio, gave management rights to corporations with certain authorities.
“The government is preparing the Job Creation Law to facilitate investment, including foreign companies,” he regrets.
Satrio emphasized that climate change is a challenge for the people’s management area at this time.
Challenges That Have Been Encountered
NTT Province is a province whose sea area borders the countries of Timor Leste and Australia. NTT is an archipelagic province with several islands according to data from the NTT Province Regional Information Management Officer in 2019 as many as 1,192 islands.
Of these, 432 islands already have names and the rest do not yet have names. There are 42 inhabited islands and 1,150 uninhabited islands.
Meanwhile, the coastline of the 556 islands in NTT, excluding small islands, is 5,700 km long with a total of 730 villages and sub-districts on the coast.
Vero said, the challenge of people’s management areas in the context of the sea, coastal communities do not care about the sea, and even destroy it.
The presence of Law No. 23/2014 concerning Regional Government Authorities has had a huge impact because the authority to manage natural resources in the sea has shifted to provinces from 0-12 miles.
According to him, with only a few personnel, managing East Flores with 3 islands is already a headache, especially Lembata and Sikka. Not to mention the budget is also limited.
Disaster Supermarkets in NTT and How the Role of Journalists
Apart from the media, citizen journalism also has an important role in terms of disaster information. Citizen journalism can provide initial information to journalists because not all journalists are at the location when an incident or disaster occurs.
The PIKUL Foundation, in collaboration with the NTT Province Disaster Risk Reduction Forum (FPRB), supported by Oxfam and Australian Aid through the Project for Strengthening Women Farmers for Climate and Disaster Resilient Communities in Indonesia (YFF-ICDRC) held a workshop on media involvement and citizen journalism for disaster and extreme weather advocacy. in NTT.
The Executive Director of the PIKUL Foundation, Pantoro Tri Kuswardono explained, the workshop which was held online on Wednesday (23/3/2022) and was attended by dozens of media representatives and residents aimed at creating joint learning between the media and citizen journalism on issues of disaster and extreme weather in NTT and can be actively involved in the campaign on this issue.
“The workshop aims to gather opinions about the involvement of the media and citizen journalism in issues of disaster and extreme weather in NTT,” he said in the TOR received by Mongabay Indonesia, Saturday (19/3/2022).
Types of Disaster in NTT
Norman Riwu Kaho, NTT FPRB administrator in his presentation explained that disasters in NTT from 1982 to June 21 2021 consisted of 131 non-natural disasters (16%) and 680 natural disasters (84%).
Norman explained the biggest natural disasters were hydrometeorological disasters as many as 643 (95%) including floods, landslides, protected forest fires, strong winds, and tidal waves. Non-hydrometeorological disasters as much as 37 (5%).
Of the 22 regencies and cities in NTT, Alor Regency is the area with the most disaster events with 85 incidents, and Central Sumba Regency with the fewest disaster events, only 4 incidents.
“Drought and flood are 2 types of disasters that occur in all regions, while strong winds only occur in 20 regencies and cities. In contrast, the tsunami was only reported to have occurred in 2 districts namely Sikka and East Flores,” he explained.
Norman explained spatial analysis of historical data on tropical cyclone trajectories from the International Best Track Archive for Climate Stewardship (IBTrACS) showed that from 1908 to early August 2021 there had been 56 tropical cyclones that passed around the NTT region.
This tropical cyclone passes up to a radius of 200 km with details, 49 tropical cyclones have been named and 7 of them are not named.
He said, from 1900 there were only 2 decades without a tropical cyclone passing near the NTT region, namely 1930-1939 and 1940-1949. Mostly in the period 1970 – 1979, 20 tropical cyclones passed and there was an increasing trend.
Norman said the cyclone season in NTT starts from November – May. As much as 51% of tropical cyclones that have passed near the NTT region have occurred in March – April.
He continued, 11 out of 22 regencies and cities had been crossed by ‘seeds’ and tropical cyclones and 8 out of 16 ‘seeds’ and tropical cyclones that had crossed over the mainland of the NTT region occurred in Kupang Regency.
He confirmed that several tropical cyclones had crossed NTT, such as the Flores Cyclone in 1973 which turned out to have very dangerous impacts.
“The Australian Meteorological Agency itself recorded an estimate of the Flores Cyclone causing 1,500 people to die. Other data says 1600 people died,” he said.
This lecturer at the Faculty of Agriculture, Undana Kupang said, DIBI BNPB data contained 811 disaster events in NTT from 1982-21 June 2021
In detail, 214 incidents of flood (26%) and 246 strong winds (30%) are frequently experienced and occur frequently in NTT.
Norman explained the category of extreme weather according to BMKG. Strong winds are winds with speeds above 25 knots or 45 km/hour or 12.8 meters/second.
Kompas journalist Frans Pati Herin said that for disaster issues, what Kompas emphasized the most was mitigation. Towards the end of the year, Kompas will reduce coverage on potential hydrometeorological disasters.
According to Frans, NTT is classified as disaster-prone so how can the media encourage people to adapt to disasters? He mentioned, many local wisdoms are starting to be abandoned, as happened on the banks of the Benenai River, Malacca.
He said, there used to be houses on stilts but now they don’t exist so when a flood occurs the community is also affected.
From the mitigation aspect, he hopes, the media needs to remind the government that development must also pay attention to disaster aspects. For example, urban planning in the city of Kupang is very bad where there is no drainage.
Frans realized that when a disaster occurs, data confusion often occurs on social media, so the role of the media is here to clarify the situation.
“The media needs to release information so that the distribution of aid and volunteers can reach the disaster site,” he said.
Frans said that in covering the challenges encountered, there were many weak areas in mitigation and adaptation. Handling emergency response collapse.
In addition, the awareness of some people thinks that disaster is a curse. Some victims don’t want to run away when the floods come, and inaccurate data on victims, and hoax information on social media.
Frans also included criticism of journalists. The first is about minimal knowledge of disaster. For example, once a television reporter reported that hot clouds reached city A. Even though what was meant was volcanic ash. This condition caused mass panic.
Matheos Viktor Messakh added how the media should handle disasters. He emphasizes maintaining credibility, having an agenda setting, and knowledge about disasters.
According to him, citizen journalists need to know correctly the disaster management cycle and the activities in each of these stages so that they can have knowledge and sensitivity in reporting.