While climate science denialists may wish to continue to repudiate the realities of the current climate crisis, one needs go no further than Bedono, Central Java. Here the ravages of climate change is very obvious.
Produced by The Jakarta Post (Post) with a grant and fellowship from the Society of Indonesian Environment Journalists (SIEJ) and the United Nations (UN), The sinking villages: Seawater creeps into houses in Central Java gets you up close and personal with the realities of the current climate crisis.
Post journalist Kharishar Kahfi takes us to Demak regency on the northern coast of Central Java. At Morosari hamlet in Bedono village it doesn’t take long for the destructive effects of rising sea water levels to become obvious. Dozens of houses sit partially submerged by the rising seawater, some people living with the water up to their window sills.
In the video Mr Kahfi explains that coastal erosion in the regency began with the large-scale clearance of mangrove forests along the coast in the 1990s to create fish ponds.
This worsened in 1994 with the commencement of work on a large reclamation project for an industrial zone in Terboyo, a district in the neighbouring city of Semarang , whose coast abuts onto Demak. Water started to rise three years later, residents say.
Going, going …
When the Post visited the regency recently it found parts of three villages — Bedono, Sriwulan and Timbulsloko — constantly submerged in water, while Tugu village has begun being inundated during tidal floods.
In recent years uncontrolled development in coastal areas, as well as rising sea levels, has seen Indonesia losing more land to erosion than it can get back.
Indonesia’s Ministry of Maritime Affairs and Fisheries says s0me 1,950 hectares (about 4,818 acres) of coast a year is lost, with only about 895 hectares (2,211 acres) being replaced through natural sedimentation. In the last 15 years villages in Demak regency have lost 550 hectares (1,359 acres) of land and only regained some 179 hectares (442 acres), it says.
Demak is only one of hundreds of regencies across Indonesia feeling the effects of climate change and rising sea levels caused by global heating.
The United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) found that a warming of 1.5 degrees Celsius (2.7˚F) could lead to a sea level rise of about 0.2 to 0.7 meters (0.66-2.3ft) by 2100, this will flood most Indonesian coastal areas, including all of the Demak villages.
Feature video The Jakarta Post
- Indonesia’s capital city isn’t the only one sinking (CNN)
- Giant sea wall ‘must be built quickly’ to stop Indonesian capital sinking into sea, president says (Independent)
- Sinking towards disaster (ABC)
After graduation she worked at the Philippine Broadcasting Service performing transcription and business news writing, before moving to Eagle Broadcasting Corporation where she worked as a news editor, translator and production assistant.