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Traffic chaos looms as
BMKG warns of storms, tornadoes

Water world: An old man eats his lunch while children play in flood waters in South Kedoya, West Jakarta, on Friday. Hundreds of houses in low-lying areas like South Kedoya were hit by Thursday’s flash flood, which began on Thursday evening. Pesanggrahan River overflowed due to heavy rains and flash floods from Bogor and the Puncak area, West Java. (JP/P.J. Leo)
Water world: An old man eats his lunch while children play in flood waters in South Kedoya, West Jakarta, on Friday. Hundreds of houses in low-lying areas like South Kedoya were hit by Thursday’s flash flood, which began on Thursday evening. Pesanggrahan River overflowed due to heavy rains and flash floods from Bogor and the Puncak area, West Java. (JP/P.J. Leo)

As the last several days have shown, Jakarta is far from solving its flooding problem.

The Jakarta Police, for example, are saying that major roads in the capital city will likely be inundated following heavy downpours that are expected to hit the capital within the next days.

Jakarta Police Traffic Directorate deputy director Adj. Sr. Comr. Wahyono said on Friday that his officers had been coordinating with peers in Tangerang, Bekasi and Depok to anticipate road inundations that might disrupt traffic.

“The city traffic police have prepared a traffic task force with 100 officers to assist each [flood-prone] area” Wahyono told The Jakarta Post on Friday.

The Meteorology, Climatology and Geophysics Agency (BMKG) released a forecast on Friday that predicted heavy rains with strong winds for Greater Jakarta for the next three days.

The agency said that the intermittent downpours of the last several days would be followed by heavy rains and perhaps even tornadoes. The agency warned residents in southern and eastern parts of Jakarta to expect higher rainfall.

As of Friday, there were 15 inundated subdistricts in Jakarta, recording water levels as high as 150 centimeters.

The subdistricts were Bidaracina, Kampung Melayu, Cililitan and Cawang in East Jakarta; Grogol and South Kedoya in West Jakarta; Kebon Baru, Bukit Duri, Ulujami, Pondok Pinang, Pondok Labu and East Pejaten in South Jakarta; and Bintaro in Tangerang,

Some residents have begun to feel the pinch of traffic problems caused by heavy rains.

Isyana Natalia, 31, a creative director who works on Jl. Panjang in Kebon Jeruk, West Jakarta, said that she would rather spend her time at the shopping center at Permata Hijau in South Jakarta, than bear the traffic jams on her way home to Cilandak, South Jakarta, during the heavy rains.

“The problem is not only the flooding. A lot of motorcyclists use the underpass at Gandaria as a shelter to protect them from rain, which makes the traffic jams a lot worse,” she said.

The Jakarta administration and the police previously formed a rapid response task force to be deployed hot spots such as the Gandaria underpass during rain storms to stop traffic backups.

Isyana said that sometimes she used alternate routes, such as traveling past Mayestik market or Jl. Bungur in Kebayoran Baru, South Jakarta, to avoid Jl. Arteri.

Annissaa Imanda, 26, an accountant, said that she traveled by car every day to her office on Jl. Sudirman, Central Jakarta, from her home in Cinere, Depok, West Java.

Annissaa said that during the past few days she faced severe traffic jams on Jl. Antasari, South Jakarta, on her way home from the office due to the heavy rains.

“I’ll just stay at the office until late at night, rather than be stuck in a traffic jam for more than two hours. It drives me nuts,” Annissaa said when asked to respond to the weather forecast.

Meanwhile, Jakarta Governor Joko “Jokowi” Widodo raised concerns that the foul weather might fell trees and further frustrate commuters.

“Old trees should be cut down before they fall and interfere [with traffic]. In any country, storms lead to fallen trees,” Jokowi said on Friday. (nad)

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