Estimating the Flood, Landslide, and Heavy Rainfall Susceptibility of Vaccine Transportation after 2021 Flooding in South Kalimantan Province, Indonesia
The COVID-19 vaccination rollout in Indonesia started in January 2020. At the time, the vaccination campaign was primarily aimed at the elderly. The vaccination program for the public started in June 2021. From June to 21 October 2021, the vaccination rate in South Kalimantan Province only reached 34.37% for the first dose and 20.53% for the second dose. As of December 2021, the coverage of dose 1 vaccination in South Kalimantan province reached 62.02%. This figure equals 1.96 million vaccine participants from the set target of 3.16 million people. Meanwhile, for the second dose of vaccination until recently, 38.21% of the target was achieved. Despite this achievement, the dose 1 and 2 vaccination rates in South Kalimantan Province are still below the average vaccination coverages at the provincial level.
Vaccines are distributed to local health facilities in Indonesia via land transportation. To transport the vaccine, a medium-sized truck that has a custom-made box container is used. This container has an air conditioner since the vaccine transport requires a low temperature. The truck used was a medium-sized one that has a low ground clearance of 25 cm, and this makes the truck vulnerable in flood areas. If the vehicle passes through the flood, it will be submerged. Another issue is that South Kalimantan has a limited road network and does not have other ways or routes if the selected routes were submerged.
In January 2021, floods and landslides occurred in South Kalimantan Province, Indonesia and impacted 11 of the 13 districts and cities. Water levels were varied and ranged from 30 cm to 50 cm, and 2 m to even 3 m. The floods occurred from 9 January to 29 January, or 20 days, as a result of the Martapura River’s overflow, high rainfall, and environmental degradation. This heavy flood likely occurred due to similar events that occurred in 1928. Flooding was associated with high rainfall intensity, which triggered an overflow of river water beginning 9 January 2021. In another nearby location, the Lulut River, located 1 km from the Martapura River, there was also a flood in 2006, but only a foot. In 2021, floods occurred frequently in March, May, August, September, and November of that year.
The South Kalimantan floods were also driven by land use changes from intact rainforests to plantations that are very vulnerable to floods. For the period of 2010–2020, there was a decline in the area of primary forest by 13,000 hectares and secondary forest by 116,000 hectares, which resulted in the plantation area expansion being sized at 219,000 hectares. In total, 304,225 hectares of intact forest were converted into oil palm plantations between 2001 and 2019.
Despite growing research on disaster assessments in transportation, our understanding of how disasters can impact specific routes of vaccine transportation is still limited. This information is very crucial, especially for a country such as Indonesia that is threatened equally by meteorological and hydrological hazards. At the same time, the government of Indonesia has used those routes within disaster-prone areas to transport the COVID-19 vaccine to remote areas. A lack of immediate assessments on how the vaccine route is prone to multi-hazard risks can cause a significant delay in COVID-19 nationwide mitigations and responses activities.
This research is intended to capture the transportation-related challenges that impeded COVID-19 vaccine distributions during Indonesia’s vaccine rollout, particularly in South Kalimantan Province, which was simultaneously affected by floods and landslides due to the rainfall. The novelty of this study is that it utilizes GIS, which included multi-hazards of flood, rainfall, and landslides and analyzed the combined impacts of those multi-hazards on COVID-19 distributions. Our study focused on addressing three main questions. First, how far have floods, rainfall, and landslides affected the length of primary road networks? Second, how several vaccine recipients will be impacted? Third, which districts will be impacted the most? The results will contribute significantly to plan future COVID-19 vaccine transportation distribution with a maximized coverage area and with the least distribution cost.
The sustainability of pandemic management depends on the sustainability of transporting medical supplies, including vaccines. Vaccine transportation to vulnerable areas and people can only be ensured upon the mapping of the most effective and efficient vaccine distribution route that considers potential disruption risks from disasters or other natural and societal risks.
Despite the fact that this study has delivered a multi-hazard risk assessment for vulnerable vaccine transports, there are some limitations to this study. Due to the study area’s magnitude, the analysis’ measure only highlights a small number of variables that are thought to have a major influence. As a result, several variables were overlooked. First, this study has limited the types of roads. This should be incorporated into a future study since the roads in Indonesia are made of two distinct materials: asphalt and concrete. Those road materials have distinct characteristics in response to hydrology-induced disasters and will affect transport vulnerability significantly and differently. Besides the road conditions, one variable that is highly recommended to be included in the further study is the type of vaccine itself. Each vaccine has distinct characteristics and responses due to the transportation physical conditions, including temperatures and expirations. Natural disasters will lead to a significant delay in vaccine transportation, which will directly increase the exposure of vaccines to unsuitable conditions.
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