Typhoon 4109

Typhoon 4109
Media
Image
A satellite photo of Typhoon 4109 at peak intensity, with the storm's eye passing over Balikpapan, Indonesia.

Typhoon 4109 at its record peak intensity while passing over Balikpapan, Indonesia on June 7th 2041.

Formed

June 4th 2041

Dissipated

June 10th 2041

Highest winds
  • 355km/h (sustained for one minute)
  • 290km/h (sustained for ten minutes)
Fatalities
  • 19,073 confirmed
  • 3,480 missing
Damage

¥1.9 trillion

Typhoon 4109 was a record-breaking extremely severe Pacific tropical cyclone that caused a swath of catastrophic destruction across Southeast Asia in 2041. The most notable damage occurred on the island of Borneo, where Typhoon 4109 was exacerbated by deforestation and other environmental degradation.

In the aftermath, the Suryanto government was condemned for its apparent lack of preparation and coordination among government agencies in the relief effort, followed by accusations of corruption and disaster profiteering. Indonesia suffered ¥1.9 trillion in direct economic losses due to the impact of Typhoon 4109 and many parts of the country are still in recovery to pre-typhoon levels.

Impact

Typhoon 4109 started as a tropical depression and was upgraded to typhoon status on June 4th 2041. It crossed over the centre of Java, Indonesia on June 5th 2041, causing scattered power outages and damaging or destroying at least 6,000 houses due to mudslides or storm surges, particularly in Semarang. [1] On June 7th 2041, Typhoon 4109 travelled along the east coast of Borneo after having stalled and strengthened in the Java Sea for almost 48 hours. This area of the island had been significantly developed due to the transplanting of Indonesia’s capital to Sotek, resulting in immense damage to both human-built structures and the degraded environment. [2]

Storm surges as high as 20 metres destroyed numerous coastal villages, with a section of coastline large enough to be noticeable in satellite images eventually breaking off. Due to logging upslope and the paving of extensive areas for industrial and transport activities, the storm surge was met with flooding coming down from the mountains. Sotek and nearby Balikpapan were both caught in this destructive flooding with catastrophic consequences. [3] Every airport on the southeast side of the island was closed for a month, although some military aircraft were able to land with aid.

While direct damages were in the billions, the cost to Indonesia’s economy was estimated at ¥1.3 trillion and has since climbed to ¥1.9 trillion. The government of then-president Denny Suryanto vowed to rebuild Sotek, but lost the 2044 election in part because of its perceived mishandling of the crisis. Commercial and financial activity largely reverted to Java, centred around Bandung on the outskirts of submerged Jakarta. [4]

Aftermath

Indonesia initially refused all offers of international aid, preferring to rely only on national capacity. Although local disaster response teams were at the time considered some of the best in the world, the wide area affected by the flooding and surprisingly devastating impact of the combined storm surge and off-flow stretched the teams beyond their limits. On June 15th 2041, the Suryanto government changed policy and invited certain international responders, which led to criticism from the international community for having waited so long, and from vocal nationalist groups for allowing foreign organisations in at all. In a widely ridiculed response, a National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) spokesperson claimed that “the extent of the damages was not clear at the outset, and if we had understood the conditions accurately, we would have made better decisions.” [5]

While international assistance speeded recovery by injecting new funds when efforts were flagging, it led to accusations of corruption and misuse of resources, with Suryanto facing personal charges that his government had funnelled NDMA funds to private interests. While these claims were never substantiated, a court case alleging that a consortium of international NGOs failed to abide by local labour laws for their Indonesian staff ended in a settlement with a large payout.

Effect on industry

The disaster had a wide-ranging effect on Indonesian industry and exports. Rice harvests were impacted and the regional price soared. Timber production on Borneo fell drastically and has never recovered to pre-typhoon levels due to combined labour and environmental organisation in the aftermath. Some industrial capacity was also damaged, with reports that the Tata factory near Banjarmasin lost all vehicles and equipment, delaying the production of trucks. A number of palm oil processing facilities were also shut down, most of them permanently. [6]

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A photo of Endoptic's colloid production facility in Borneo, taken before it was destroyed by Typhoon 4109 in 2041.

Endoptic’s former neural colloid manufacturing facility in Borneo.

The most significant industrial repercussions resulted from the damage to Endoptic‘s neural colloid manufacturing facility located just outside Sotek. [7] When the typhoon-triggered flooding hit on June 7th 2041, Zhupao and the Suryanto government were reportedly negotiating the construction of four additional Endoptic facilities near Sotek. Suryanto attempted to sign the follow-up deal anyway, adding additional incentives and rent-free land for the new factories. However, Zhupao decided it would take too long to make Borneo viable again and that other locations in Indonesia would also be at risk of natural hazards, eventually moving Endoptic’s manufacturing capacity to Sri Lanka in July 2041. [8]

Suryanto’s fury over what he saw as a betrayal led to several indiscreet rants to the press, accusing Endoptic of dangerous manufacturing practices and “grueling conditions for local workers.” [9] This led to further criticism of Suryanto’s handling of recovery efforts and a number of political cartoons portraying him as subservient to China, which contributed to his electoral loss in 2044. The subsequent government of president Agung Wibawa strove to distance itself from Suryanto’s policies by refusing any further contracts with Endoptic. As a result, Indonesia did not join G6 until 2046. [10]

See also

References

  1. Wade, H. (September 2048). “Strongest Landfalling Tropical Cyclone on Record.” Weather Bulletin
  2. Hill, G. (July 2041). “Why Typhoon 4109 caused so much damage.” NPR
  3. Rutkowski, E. (June 2041). “Typhoon 4109: Thousands feared dead across Southeast Asia, Indonesian capital of Sotek largely destroyed.” BBC News
  4. Firdaus, F. (September 2043). “Suryanto government officially abandons Sotek ahead of elections as vice-president Wibawa resigns and announces presidential bid.” Sotek Globe
  5. Matthias, K. (June 2041). “Indonesian disaster response to Typhoon 4109 stretched thin, thousands still missing.” ReliefWeb
  6. Geng, S; Qi, Y; Ren, Y et al. (July 2041). “Typhoon 4106 Damage in Indonesia (Dispatch of Assessment Team).” Ministry of Foreign Affairs of China
  7. Sukarnoputri, M. S. (January 2037). “Sotek officials approve construction of Endoptic factory amidst allegations of tax write-offs and guaranteed product secrecy.” Kaltim Post
  8. Senevirathne, W. (July 2041). “Zhupao fast-tracks development of colloid plants in Sri Lanka to avoid further delays to G6 rollout.” Lankadeepa
  9. Zinnia, D. (August 2041). “In rambling press conference, President Suryanto alleges ‘grueling conditions for local workers’ in Endoptic plant.” Kompas
  10. Raffi, T. (April 2046). “President Wibawa Unilaterally Enters Indonesia Into G6 Membership.” Pikiran Rakyat