While all eyes were on Sunday’s Plumpang fuel depot fire, residents in nearby Kelapa Gading were hit by sweeping floods that threw traffic into chaos.
Heavy rains were not the sole trigger of the flooding though, with residents blaming new concrete apartment buildings and malls for causing poor drainage in the area.
The floods crippled the Transjakarta busway while all traffic was diverted to avoid inundated arterial roads.
Adhibara, whose office is located in Kelapa Gading’s West Boulevard, said he was forced to walk from the street’s west end to reach his office because vehicles were brought virtually to a standstill once the floods hit.
His regular Transjakarta bus was blocked from entering the area, though he admitted the closure had been posted at the Blok M busway terminal where he boarded since the morning.
“The water was knee-high at points along the [Kelapa Gading] street and was worse at the eastern end,” he said. “Even my boss had trouble passing the high waters from the Pulo Mas area in East Jakarta.”
Adhibara said the recent opening of a mall nearby was to blame for the floods.
“This street never flooded before the mall was built,” he said. “Normally there would not be floods right now because the water could drain into the area where the mall is now located.”
Another Kelapa Gading resident, Agung Wibowo, said traffic along Jl. Yos Sudarso, beneath the elevated toll road, was held up considerably by the flood waters.
The Jakarta Police Traffic Management Center said vehicles could bypass flooding by using the Pulo Mas entrance ramp at the toll road and exiting at the Podomoro ramp. This strategy, however, just led to an extreme bottleneck in traffic and clogged the main roadway.
Jani Justianti, who travelled from Bekasi to her office in Ancol, said she needed four hours to commute to her workplace now, whereas normally the same journey took less than two hours.
“I had no idea there were floods in the Kelapa Gading area because it was not raining in Bekasi,” she said. “By the time I listened to the radio and found out the toll road was completely congested, it was too late.”
Floods also hit North Jakarta’s Sukapura subdistrict in Cilincing, submerging the area in more than a meter of water. Over 200 families in the area were evacuated Monday at 9 a.m. to seven temporary shelters.
In several parts of Bekasi, water levels have surged over the meter mark and covered the Kali Abang Tengah and Perwira subdistricts in North Bekasi, Telukbusung in Medan Satria, Rawalembu in West Bekasi and the Duta Kranji real estate, the Bekasi flood post reported.
“Residents of Medan Satria and North Bekasi have already called for emergency food supplies,” said Bekasi flood post official Haryati.
“The administration has sent them drinking water, instant noodles and some clean clothes.”
She said flood waters had been rising since Friday night. (iwp)