JAKARTA: For weeks, dozens of residents of Ridogalih Village have been flocking to a small river to bathe and wash their clothes, travelling on foot or by motorcycles under the relentless heat of a blaring summer sun.
The water wells in this sleepy village – a 90-minute drive from the eastern edge of the Indonesian capital Jakarta – have dried up since early June, their depths barren and empty.
Meanwhile, the once fertile rice fields that used to stretch like a green sea have started to turn into parched dirt with withered brown rice stems jutting out of the ground.
The dry spell left residents with no choice but to seek water from the nearest body of water: Cihowe, a small river that cuts through the middle of the village.
“Even now the river’s water level is already receding,” 45-year-old Hanifah, who like many Indonesians goes by one name, told CNA.
The mother of two worries that if the dry spell continues, the Cihowe would reduce to a trickle just like it did in 2019 when two weather phenomena – El Nino and the so-called positive Indian Ocean Dipole (IOD) event – resulted in a prolonged drought across Indonesia.