Jakarta (ANTARA) - President Joko Widodo (Jokowi) has instructed the local authority to put a halt to illegal gold mining that has fueled deforestation in Banten Province to avoid the relapse of flash floods in future.
"In Lebak District, Banten, we can see forest encroachment for illegal mining. I have ordered the governor and district head to stop this," Jokowi remarked in Banjar Irigasi Village, Lebak Gedong Sub-district, in Banten on Tuesday.
Flash floods that struck Lebak District on Wednesday (Jan 1) claimed 10 lives and damaged 19 schools in six districts in addition to wrecking 1,410 houses.
Hundreds of houses were isolated as road access was cut off, and the local administration had declared an emergency status on January 1-14, 2020.
"We cannot allow one, two, or three people to take the benefit while thousand others suffered losses due to the flash flood. I have received a report on 23 bridges connecting villages being damaged. They will be restored soon," the president noted.
"I have ordered the minister of public works and housing to renovate these in three to four months. I will also order the Education and Culture Ministry and Public Works and Housing Ministry to restore the damaged schools," he remarked.
The president affirmed he will evaluate the possibility of relocating residents of the village to other safer locations.
Earlier, on his way to Lebak District, the president had decided to visit Sukajaya Sub-district in Bogor District of West Java that was also hit by flooding and landslide on Jan 1.
According to the local disaster mitigation agency (BPBD), the flood and landslide in Bogor District had claimed 11 lives.
As a precautionary measure against extreme weather conditions during the peak of the rainy season in January and February, the president had instructed all local leaders to offer early warnings to the public.
"We have conveyed this last month that all governors, district heads, and mayors should provide early warnings to residents at locations prone to landslide. We have detected the locations. Local leaders know well about the areas that are prone to flooding or flash floods," he stated.
He highlighted the need for the public and local governments to remain vigilant to likely disasters in their respective areas.
"I think alertness is important for all of us," the president added.
Source: Antara News