Seroja: The Tropical Cyclone That Hit Indonesia

Survivors are being searched for after a deadly cyclone hit Indonesia, harming the land and killing civilians. Seroja, the tropical cyclone, hit Indonesia and Timor-Leste, two countries in Asia, on Sunday, April 4th. Seroja had deadly effects on Indonesian, and Timorese civilians, specifically affecting 600,000 civilians in various ways, according to World Vision. Including, destroying many homes, buildings, and driving various areas into an emergency state.

Seroja had deadly effects on many people across the country. According to the World Vision organization, the tropical cyclone took the lives of at least 222 civilians and displaced 20,000 civilians. The heavy rain and strong winds have destroyed nearly two thousand buildings, including a hospital and more than 100 homes were affected, stated by the relief web. According to the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs Services, of Timor-Leste’s population of 1.3 million, 10,325 civilians were affected, and over 76% of those affected live in the capital of Dili.

Seroja has been statistically shown to be the strongest tropical cyclone Indonesia has experienced since 2008. Dwikorita Karnawati is a director of the Indonesian Agency of Meteorology, Climatology, and Geophysical. She has stated her worry for future tropical storms similar to Seroja, elaborating that tropical cyclones are happening more often and are likely due to the impacts of climate change. She further warned the civilians of Bali and Sumatra, two islands in Indonesia, of strong winds and heavy rains.

Indonesian officials have expressed their concern regarding the economic and humanitarian impacts of the cyclone. The president of Indonesia, Joko Widodo, held a cabinet meeting to accelerate the process of evacuation, relief and restoration efforts. Additionally, the lieutenant-general of the Indonesian military army, Doni Monardo, has expressed his effort for assistance. Monardo stated that volunteer and military help is being sent to the locations where Seroja created the most damage.

International efforts are being made to assist those affected by the cyclone, various organizations are working to provide humanitarian assistance to those in need. Caritas Australia, an organization that promotes justice, is assisting those affected by Seroja. They are working with other establishments, specifically, churches and NGOs, to analyze humanitarian and civilian needs as well as provide support to vulnerable communities. Similarly, the IDEP Foundation is a non-governmental organization that is working with Indonesia to provide public education programs and activities. This foundation is working with the Indonesian regency East Flores, to provide emergency response assistance to islands in Indonesia that were gravely affected, specifically Lembata and Adonara.

The effects of the strong wind and heavy rainfall of the Seroja cyclone were deadly to the Indonesian and Timorese infrastructure, civilian health, and education systems. The tropical cyclone and its deadly effects moved away from Timor-Leste and reached closer to the west coast of Australia by April 11th, further damaging homes and infrastructure. Many government officials have decided to declare an emergency response status, including the provinces in Indonesia of East and North Nusa Tenggara, as well as various regencies. With the intensifying effects of climate change, the frequency and severity of cyclones are likely to continue to intensify, further harming the economic and humanitarian effects. On account of the severity of Seroja, government officials must put precautionary measures into place to avoid further economic and civilian harm.