Drought has Indonesians thirsty for water

Sept. 13, 2012 at 12:13 PM

JAKARTA, Sept. 13 (UPI) -- A long drought has left tens of thousands of Indonesians without water and facing the bleak prospect of massive crop losses, authorities say.

Villagers are being forced to sell their possessions to buy water or walk long distances to gather water for their daily needs, The Jakarta Post reported Thursday.

Hardest hit are Bali, Java, and East Nusa Tenggara, data from the National Disaster Mitigation Agency indicates.

Up to 77 percent of the communities in Java have had a water deficit for up to eight months a year since 2003, the agency reported.

The drought has affected nearly 314,000 acres of crops, Agriculture Minister Suswono said Monday. About 75 percent of the area has experienced harvest failure, he said.

Water trucks have been deployed into many villages, but some residents said they spend up to half a day carrying water from lakes or rivers to their homes over rocky terrain.

Water supplies are expected to drop until the end of October, said Dwi Warno Widi Nugroho, head of the regional social services office.

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