Indonesians pay high price to shield homes from rising sea levels

Indonesians pay high price to shield homes from rising sea levels
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Bamboo sticks and nets are used as barriers at Tambakrejo village, which is affected by rising sea level and land subsidence, in Semarang, central Java in Indonesia. (Reuters)
Indonesians pay high price to shield homes from rising sea levels
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A damaged wooden boat is pictured as a man fishes at Tambaklorok village, which has been affected by rising sea level and land subsidence, in Semarang, Central Java province of Indonesia. (Reuters)
Updated 01 December 2019

Indonesians pay high price to shield homes from rising sea levels

Indonesians pay high price to shield homes from rising sea levels
  • ‘If you have a house on land and then work at sea, it’s hard. But now I work at sea and I live at sea’
  • Millions of people face risk of a sinking coastline on Indonesia’s most populous island of Java

TAMBAKLOROK, Indonesia: Indonesian fisherman Miskan says the once-abundant catches he used to enjoy have been dwindling in recent years on this stretch of the Java Sea.
His meagre income is being further strained by having to borrow cash to shore up his home against lapping waves coming further inland on this vulnerable coastline.
“If you have a house on land and then work at sea, it’s hard. But now I work at sea and I live at sea,” said Miskan, 44, who uses one name, speaking outside his small home, where a caged songbird hangs from the rafters.
His community’s battle against inundation, blamed on both man-made environmental destruction and the impact of climate change, reflects the risks posed to millions of people by a sinking coastline on Indonesia’s most populous island of Java.
The flooding in Tambaklorok in Central Java province is now so bad that Miskan uses a window to enter his home since his door is half blocked by dirt piled up to keep out the sea.
“It’s hard to save money when you’re a fisherman,” he said.
Miskan had to borrow from neighbors to pay roughly 7.2 million rupiah ($500) to hire workers to truck in earth.
Thousands of people in Asia and Europe joined rallies demanding more action on climate change on Friday, aiming to force political leaders to come up with urgent solutions at a United Nations conference that starts on Monday.
Indonesia, an archipelago of thousands of islands, has about 81,000 km (50,300 miles) of coastline, making it particularly vulnerable to climate change along with neighbors like the Philippines.
It is also home to more than a fifth of the world’s mangrove forests, which naturally help keep out high tidal waters. But for years, coastal communities have chopped down mangrove forests to clear the way for fish and shrimp farms, and for rice paddies.
The government has scrambled to work with environmental groups to replant mangroves, build dykes and relocate threatened villages.
But many residents, often poor fishermen, are either reluctant to leave their homes or simply have nowhere to go further inland on Java, home to around 140 million people.
“It is impossible for us to move due to economic reasons, so even though there’s tidal floods, I’ll stay,” said Abdul Hadi, whose house in Tambaklorok is now below sea levels and the road.
Another villager, Solihatun, 51, regularly needs her roof removed so that the height of the walls can be raised as earth is spread in and around her house. She says the flooding is sometimes so bad her grandchildren can swim in the living room.
“Thank God for bank loans, so it’s easier to pay off the debt every month,” she said, adding she had spent over 5 million rupiah for the last renovation.
Feri Prihantoro of the Bina Karta Lestari Foundation, a non-government organization (NGO) focused on sustainable development, said the area’s coastline was particularly vulnerable to flooding and high tides due to land subsidence because of the extraction of underground water and higher sea levels.
Further along the Java coast, Jakarta is also prone to flooding with two-fifths of the city lying below sea level.
With this partly in mind, President Joko Widodo announced in August a $33 billion plan to move the capital to Borneo island.


Nigeria receives six warplanes from US to fight insurgency

A-29 Super Tucano military aircrafts fly over targets during a drill by the Lebanese Airforce in the northern Lebanese village of Hamat on April 11, 2019. (AFP)
A-29 Super Tucano military aircrafts fly over targets during a drill by the Lebanese Airforce in the northern Lebanese village of Hamat on April 11, 2019. (AFP)
Updated 12 min 27 sec ago

Nigeria receives six warplanes from US to fight insurgency

A-29 Super Tucano military aircrafts fly over targets during a drill by the Lebanese Airforce in the northern Lebanese village of Hamat on April 11, 2019. (AFP)
  • In August 2017, the State Department under Trump informed Congress it had approved the deal, which includes supplying the Nigerian armed forces with ammunition, training and aircraft maintenance

LAGOS: Nigeria has received six of 12 turboprop light attack aircraft from the US to help fight mounting insecurity, its air force said.
Africa’s most populous nation faces several security crises, including a 12-year-old insurgency in the northeast, herder-farmer clashes in the center, kidnapping for ransom in the northwest and separatist agitation in the south.
“The first batch of A-29 Super Tucano aircraft have arrived in Kano,” Nigeria Air Force spokesman Edward Gabkwet said in a statement.
He said on Friday that six out of 12 had arrived, and the next batch would arrive in October.
The planes are built in the US by Sierra Nevada and its Brazilian partner, Embraer Defense and Security.
The $593-million deal was initially unveiled in May 2016 under former US president Barack Obama.
However, the Obama administration froze the sale just before handing over to Donald Trump, after the Nigerian military accidentally bombed a camp for people displaced by conflict in the northeast, killing 112 civilians.

HIGHLIGHT

The planes are built in the US by Sierra Nevada and its Brazilian partner, Embraer Defense and Security.

Boko Haram and rival offshoot Islamic State West Africa Province (ISWAP) have killed at least 40,000 people and forced more than two million people from their homes since 2009. The violence has spread to parts of neighboring Chad, Cameroon and Niger, prompting a regional military coalition to fight the jihadists.
In August 2017, the State Department under Trump informed Congress it had approved the deal, which includes supplying the Nigerian armed forces with ammunition, training and aircraft maintenance.
The Super Tucano is already used in Brazil, for border patrols, and in a dozen other air forces including in Afghanistan, Colombia and Indonesia.
On Sunday, the Nigerian air force said it had lost an Alpha Jet, a European-made trainer and light attack plane built in the 1970s and 80s, after it came under fire from criminal gangs in Zamfara state in the northwest of the country.


UN ‘extremely concerned’ by Tigray humanitarian situation

A woman attends a rally in Addis Ababa to condemn Tigray People Liberation Front. (FIle/Reuters)
A woman attends a rally in Addis Ababa to condemn Tigray People Liberation Front. (FIle/Reuters)
Updated 17 min 33 sec ago

UN ‘extremely concerned’ by Tigray humanitarian situation

A woman attends a rally in Addis Ababa to condemn Tigray People Liberation Front. (FIle/Reuters)
  • Phiri said a WFP-led convoy of more than 200 trucks carrying food and other essential humanitarian supplies was on standby in Ethiopia and was expected to depart for Tigray once security clearances are assured

GENEVA: The UN said it was “extremely concerned” at the humanitarian situation in Ethiopia’s northern Tigray region, where severe shortages of food and supplies are taking their toll.
The UN’s World Food Programme called for unimpeded access into Tigray to reach the 4 million people facing acute food insecurity and needing emergency assistance.
“The WFP is extremely concerned,” the organization’s spokesman Tomson Phiri said in Geneva.
“The humanitarian response in the region continues to be challenged by a severe lack of sufficient food and other humanitarian supplies, limited communication services and no commercial supply chain.”
He said the WFP had delivered food assistance to more than 730,000 people in parts of the south and northwest of Tigray in the past month.
That figure includes 40,000 people in the Zana area who were reached with food assistance for the first time.
The agency hopes to reach a further 80,000 people in the northwest in the coming days.
“Once this is completed, food stocks in the northwest are likely to run out,” said Phiri.
People in Zana “had been completely cut off and living in dire conditions,” he added.
“These are people who have been displaced and now shelter in schools and other impromptu shelters.”
Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed sent troops into Tigray last November to oust the region’s ruling party, the Tigray People’s Liberation Front, a move he said was in response to TPLF attacks on federal army camps. Though the 2019 Nobel Peace laureate declared victory later that month, TPLF leaders remained on the run and fighting dragged on.
Phiri said a WFP-led convoy of more than 200 trucks carrying food and other essential humanitarian supplies was on standby in Ethiopia and was expected to depart for Tigray once security clearances are assured.
“WFP renews its call for faster, free and unimpeded access into Tigray to reach millions in need of life-saving food,” he said.
Phiri said the WFP’s target was to reach 2.1 million people who are at risk in Tigray. He said it had been projected that more than 400,000 people would be suffering from catastrophic levels of hunger from July onwards.


Manila tightens virus curbs as local transmission of delta variant is confirmed

Manila tightens virus curbs as local transmission of delta variant is confirmed
Updated 23 July 2021

Manila tightens virus curbs as local transmission of delta variant is confirmed

Manila tightens virus curbs as local transmission of delta variant is confirmed
  • The Philippines has the second-highest number of coronavirus cases and related deaths in Southeast Asia
  • Under new restrictions, the Philippines will ban travelers from Malaysia and Thailand from Sunday

MANILA: The Philippines tightened coronavirus restrictions on Friday, after health authorities confirmed local transmission of the highly contagious delta variant of COVID-19.
The Department of Health said in a statement on Thursday night that while half of the confirmed delta variant cases are of Filipinos returning from abroad, recent phylogenetic analysis showed the emergence of local clusters related to the more aggressive COVID-19 strain.
The local transmission of the delta variant, which is wreaking havoc in other Southeast Asian countries, has prompted President Rodrigo Duterte to approve the recommendation of the country’s pandemic response body to place the metropolitan Manila area — the capital region with more than 13 million inhabitants — under general community quarantine “with heightened restrictions” from Friday until the end of the month.
The provinces of Ilocos Norte, Ilocos Sur, Davao de Oro and Davao del Norte have been placed in the same quarantine category.
“This action is undertaken to prevent the further spread and community transmission of COVID-19 variants in the Philippines,” Duterte’s spokesperson Harry Roque said in a statement.
Indoor sports and tourist venues have been closed, the operating capacity of indoor dining venues was scaled down to 20 percent, and open air dining is allowed at 50 percent capacity. Children between the ages of five and 17 are not allowed to leave their homes.
As part of the new restrictions, the Philippines will ban travelers coming from Malaysia and Thailand from Sunday until the end of July. The two Southeast Asian nations join the other countries on Manila’s travel ban list due to delta variant outbreaks — India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Nepal, Oman, the United Arab Emirates.
With more than 1.53 million infections and nearly 27,000 deaths, the Philippines has recorded the second-highest number of coronavirus cases and related deaths in Southeast Asia after Indonesia and its health authorities are increasingly coming under criticism.
Senator Panfilo Lacson has accused the Department of Health of being unprepared in responding to the delta variant crisis.
With the Philippine presidential and vice presidential elections scheduled to take place in May next year, he called on the country’s leaders to find more competent health officials for their cabinets.
“Knowing the delta variant has already gripped India and Indonesia, it seems they have not prepared adequately,” he said. “The first order of the day for the next leader of the country is to scout for a more qualified person at the helm of the Health Department.”


In seasonal makeover, Pakistani barbers decorate camels with ancient motifs

Customers wait as barber Ali Hassan decorates their animal at a camel market in Karachi, Pakistan on July 20, 2021. (AN photo by S.A. Babar)
Customers wait as barber Ali Hassan decorates their animal at a camel market in Karachi, Pakistan on July 20, 2021. (AN photo by S.A. Babar)
Updated 2 min 47 sec ago

In seasonal makeover, Pakistani barbers decorate camels with ancient motifs

Customers wait as barber Ali Hassan decorates their animal at a camel market in Karachi, Pakistan on July 20, 2021. (AN photo by S.A. Babar)
  • Most of camel art designs are a continuation of southern Pakistan's thousands of years old artistic heritage
  • Demand for camel barbering increases during Eid Al-Adha when Pakistanis want to buy the best and most beautiful sacrificial animals

KARACHI: When the season comes, Ali Hassan often switches off his phone as camel traders from rural Sindh flood him with orders to decorate their animals with elaborate haircuts and ancient Sindhi motifs.

Now in his fifties, Hassan has been practicing camel barbering for the past four decades and is one of the most famous masters of the art.

Demand for his craft usually peaks in the first weeks of January, and again during Eid Al-Adha when Pakistanis want to buy the best and most beautiful sacrificial animals.

"People reach out to get their camels a new makeover, so much so that at times I have to switch off my phone to avoid the influx," Hassan told Arab News at a camel market in Karachi earlier this week, as he finished decorating a camel's hide with rilli, a complex embroidery pattern used in the traditional art of Sindh.

Camel barbering in Pakistan is a distinctive blend of art and symbolism. The artists make the patterns by cutting the rough hairy coat of the camels with scissors in multiple stages. Later, some of them apply natural henna dyes to color these motifs.

Camel hair tattoo designs at a camel market in Karachi, Pakistan on July 20, 2021. (AN photo by S.A. Babar)

"Not every barber is an artist," Hassan said, "but there are many whose artwork has breathed a new life to the Sindh’s traditional culture."

His hometown, Daulatpur in Shaheed Benazirabad district of Sindh, is particularly famous for camel barbering, with hundreds of craftsmen practicing it in the region. At least 40 of them are Hassan's students.

BACKGROUND

Demand for camel barbering increases during Eid Al-Adha when Pakistanis want to buy the best and most beautiful sacrificial animals.

"I tell my students that you can only learn this craft if you are passionate about it," he said, as it takes lots of time, patience and precision to produce good designs.

Most of the designs are a continuation of Sindh's thousands of years old artistic heritage.

Hassan's customers usually choose Sindhi artwork patterns such rilli and the famous ajrak. But some also ask for ancient cities and forts. Or the moon and stars.

His prices range from Rs1,000 ($6) for Hassan said for a simple makeover to even Rs10,000 for special, more complicated designs.

Despite the price, camel owners still want their animals to be decorated by the best barbers whose touch everyone would notice.

"Artwork on camels costs much more than simple hair dressing, but everyone wants their camel to look different," Allah Bux, a camel owner, told Arab News.

Hassan knows exactly which motif would look best on the animal.

"When I glance at the camel, I instinctively know what to design," he said. "I've been doing this since my childhood. This scissor is my companion. I love the art."

 


UK police investigate after woman threatens ‘Algerian’ man on train

Footage emerged of a woman racially abusing and threatening to stab and behead people on a train, and of physical altercations breaking out between her and fellow travelers. (Screenshot/YouTube)
Footage emerged of a woman racially abusing and threatening to stab and behead people on a train, and of physical altercations breaking out between her and fellow travelers. (Screenshot/YouTube)
Updated 23 July 2021

UK police investigate after woman threatens ‘Algerian’ man on train

Footage emerged of a woman racially abusing and threatening to stab and behead people on a train, and of physical altercations breaking out between her and fellow travelers. (Screenshot/YouTube)
  • In footage uploaded to Instagram, the woman racially abuses fellow passengers, threatening to stab and behead them

LONDON: Police in the UK have appealed for witnesses after footage emerged of a woman racially abusing and threatening to stab and behead people on a train, and of physical altercations breaking out between her and fellow travelers.

The incident took place near West Ham station in east London. In footage shared on social media site Instagram, the woman — wearing a purple and white top and skirt, and appearing to be drunk — calls a fellow passenger a “f— Algerian c—,” and tells him she will spit in his face.

She then threatens to “stab him in the f— face” and to “knock him out,” and tells him that if he looks at or raises his hands to a fellow passenger, who appears to be her friend, she will cut his head off.

“I don’t want to have to punch up this Asian guy,” she tells her friend, before calling the man a “n—.” Other passengers can be heard calling her racist and telling her to calm down.

The passenger whose footage was uploaded to Instagram tells her that he has to film what she is doing “for my safety, your safety, his safety, everyone else’s safety.”

In the video, after he accuses her of being racist, she tells him: “You don’t know what country I’m from, I’m half f— Kenyan you little b—.” He responds: “If you’re Kenyan then you should know better.”

Unperturbed, she replies: “Carry on recording me because I don’t care. I don’t give a f—. You’re some civilian mother— from the middle of Essex.”

She later knocks the phone out of his hand, and is seen pushing and slapping another male passenger who pushes her back, knocking her into a luggage rack.

The British Transport Police said it received a report of a racially aggravated public order offense, and urged members of the public to assist with its investigation.