06/23/2022, 18.04
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Residents on Sumba Island face crisis from lack of rain

by Mathias Hariyadi

Drought is putting a strain on agriculture. Building wells is an option but one that requires lots of time. Other areas have also not had any significant rainfall for months.

Jakarta (AsiaNews) – No rain has fallen on East Nusa Tenggara province for three months and the local agriculture is suffering as a result, especially in Rambangaru, Haharu subdistrict, Sumba Island, this according to Ryan Sudrajat, a forecaster with the provincial Climatology and Geophysics Agency.

“Rambangaru is the territory most affected by drought,” the expert explained, who notes that four other regions have also not recorded rainfall for at least two months.

“Here in Sumba, we only have a limited time to farm the land because it rains only for eight months a year,” said Kamto, a resident originally from Central Java.

While rice fields and vegetable gardens are found in the south-eastern part of the island, corn, cucumbers and cashews are grown in water-deficient areas.

To cope with periods of drought, the local population accumulates water in large tanks, but the latter have run dry in the past few months while water use for human consumption has increased.

Local water authorities are offering 6,000 litres of water but for many families the price is too high.

Building new wells appears to be the only solution, but that requires time since the ground is largely rocky.

“Digging a natural well needs at least a week with this terrain with average depths of at least 60-70 metres,” Kamto explained. Sometimes, “people need much more time, even a month, when digging gets stuck in hard rock”.

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