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NEWS UPDATES Asean Affairs        11  May 2011

Indonesian drought arrives in 2012

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Indonesia is expected to suffer from a long dry season in 2012, with the government urged to immediately start making preparations, says a climate expert at the National Space and Aviation Agency (LAPAN).

Edi Hermawan said in 2010 and 2011 a long wet season would dominate.

“There is no chance for dry season [during 2010-2011]. It's only sunny for one or two days a week,” Edi told news portal

The phenomenon is similar to what happened in 1998, when Indonesia had a nine-month long wet season.

“It is repeating,” Edi said.

The wet season has affected rice crops in Indonesia. The government is trying to help the 11 rice-producing provinces — including West Sumatra, South Sumatra, Jambi, all parts of Java and South Sulawesi.

“But regardless of the efforts, no rice variety can stand a year-long wet season,” Edi said.

Not only rice farmers, but sugar-cane farmers could also be affected by the wet season, with the weather expected to impact yield and prices.

But starting May 2012, the weather is expected to dry up and stay dry, peaking in October.

“Based on data, the sun cycle will reach its peak and solar storm will occur,” Edi said.

The dry season will also have detrimental effects, with the threat of dams drying up and the food supplies being hampered.

“The dry season is closely linked to food supply. Starvation is possible and it might influence the government's performance,” Edi said, adding that government must start preparing for the drought.

“They can't import goods at the last minute. The government must make quick and accurate predictions based on accurate data,” he said.

Edi said the government must pay special attention to East Nusa Tenggara because the province regularly suffered from droughts. He urged leaders to education people on how to prepare for a drought — “for example, by planting edible plants around the house.”

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It is commonplace in journalism to write two types of articles at the transition point between the year that has passed and the New Year. As this writer qualifies as an “old hand” in observing Thailand with a track record dating back 14 years, it is time take a shot at what may unfold in Thailand in 2011.

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