Floods hit city as rainy season comes to an end
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Drifting along: Residents of Kampung Pulo in Jatinegara, East Jakarta, navigate their flooded neighborhood by dinghy on Tuesday as most of them decided not to leave their homes. They have got used to floods and have ropes lining the neighborhood to help them move around. (JP/P.J. Leo)
Thousands of Jakartans were forced to evacuate their homes as floods hit nine subdistricts in the capital city Tuesday morning following incessant rainfall the previous day.
The Jakarta Disaster and Mitigation Agency (BPBD) reported on Tuesday that floodwater had affected almost 6,000 families, or a total of 16,064 people. At least 2,406 people were displaced from nine subdistricts to 17 safe locations, while many decided to remain in their flooded homes. No casualties were recorded.
Residents in affected subdistricts in East and South Jakarta — Kampung Melayu, Bidara Cina, Cawang, Cililitan, Pejaten Timur, Bukit Duri, Kebon Baru, Rawa Jati and Pengadegan — had taken refuge on Monday evening.
BPBD spokesman Edy Junaedi Harahap said the inundation level in Kampung Melayu, Cawang and Kampung Pulo subdistricts was between 50 centimeters to 2.5 meters. Cawang subdistrict was the worst hit, forcing 1,850 people to evacuate.
Ade Parwastuti, a program manager from the Sanggar Ciliwung Merdeka community organization in Kampung Duri, South Jakarta, said the water level in the community house located on the riverbank of Ciliwung River was less than one-meter high in the morning. It had subsided in the afternoon.
“The inundation was not as bad as in January. Thank God the high level of water in Katulampa was not exacerbated by heavy rain in Jakarta and Bogor,” she told The Jakarta Post.
The water level at Katulampa sluice gates in Bogor measured 220 centimeters at 5:40 p.m. on Monday before it reached 250 centimeters at 6 p.m., putting the city at the highest flood warning level during the rainy season, which started in November 2012. The water level decreased to 150 centimeters an hour later.
BPBD and the National Disaster Mitigation Agency (BNPB) deployed nine rubber boats and eight quick response team members to assist in the disaster mitigation process. Jakarta Governor Joko “Jokowi” Widodo said he would not declare an emergency situation as the water had receded.
Previously in January, tens of thousands of residents were displaced during floods that paralyzed various locations in the capital city and claimed the lives of 27 people.
BPBD head Ery Basworo said weather engineering would be an option should the climatology agency forecast heavy rainfall in the near future.
“Basically, there will be no more rain in Jakarta, but I have discussed [the possibility of modifying weather] with the BNPB should the BMKG [the Meteorology, Climatology and Geophysics Agency] forecast heavy rainfall in Jakarta in the near future,” Ery told the Post.
However, Ery said that “we don’t know yet [about realizing the option].”
In early February, the city administration cooperated with BNPB to modify weather. Dozens of tons of salt was spread in the skies of Jakarta using Hercules and Casa aircraft to press cloud formation.
Meanwhile, Jakarta Environmental Management Agency (BPLHD) head Tauchid Tjakra Amidjaya said the central government had planned to connect the Ciliwung River with the East Flood Canal (KBT) to ease the burden of the largest river running through the capital.
Jokowi said land acquisition for the project would only affect five houses. (cor)