Finding Solutions to Overcome Annual Rob Floods in Waan District, Merauke – – Tidal floods or rising sea levels due to low shoreline have made residents of Waan District, Merauke Regency, Papua live in the shadow of fear.

Tidal floods often hit the area in December, January to February. It is recorded that more than 6000 residents live in Waan District, Merauke Regency. The majority of residents in the area survive by relying on agricultural products and fish catch.

A Deputy Chairperson of the Merauke Regional People’s Representative Council (DPRD), Dominikus Ulukianan, believes that the local government needs to take serious action for the sake of residents in Waan District.

To handle it does not have to be with the help of basic needs every tidal flood. However, it requires a long term solution and is accepted by the community. “Every year the area is hit by tidal floods and this has been happening for a long time. However, until now there has been no solution,” said Dominikus.

The tidal flood had a huge impact on the survival of residents in Waan District. Agricultural land that is submerged in water makes it difficult for residents to get food supplies. Agricultural land types of tubers had to be harvested prematurely.

“Rob’s flood this time was a bit severe, so the government responded very quickly by providing assistance. The aid for basic materials has been deployed there,” said Dominikus.

The DPRD has proposed to the government to form a study team to deal with tidal flooding. The proposed study team will certainly involve the Regional Government and DPRD.

“It’s time we no longer talk about assistance every year due to tidal flooding in the area (Waan) but we look for solutions on how the community is prepared to deal with the tidal flooding,” he said.

Dominikus assesses that relocating residents from the shoreline is unlikely to be a solution. Because, for him, the relocation of residents will be in direct contact with groups of customary [ulayat] rights owners.

 According to Dominikus, the local government needs to prepare a large-scale and long-term food security program as another solution in dealing with tidal flooding in Waan District.

For example, by encouraging people in Waan District to cultivate crops before the tidal flood came, so that food supplies for the community were available when the tidal flood hit the area.

“This means that it is necessary to calculate what month the tidal flood occurs, then in what months people can grow crops until harvest. If this can be done and implemented, the people in the area will no longer expect government assistance every year,” said Dominikus.

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