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Jakarta Post

Orange troops keep heavy inundations at bay

  • Corry Elyda

    The Jakarta Post

  /   Sat, February 27, 2016   /  10:24 am

Contract workers from subdistrict offices and agencies, in their signature orange uniforms, have become the busiest people during the rainy season as they are on the front line of the city administration'€™s efforts to immediately handle floods.

In some parts of the city that are usually heavily inundated after incessant rains like on Thursday night, floodwaters were nowhere to be seen. Instead of floods, people in orange uniforms were seen trying to make way for the water to flow into the drains, as witnessed in Palmerah, Central Jakarta.

Jakarta Governor Basuki '€œAhok'€ Tjahaja Purnama said at City Hall on Friday that the workers, dubbed the '€œorange troops'€, and the pumps had major roles in keeping the capital above water.

'€œOur focus is making sure that all drains are connected. No garbage is allowed in our sewage system,'€ he said.

Ahok said that the orange troops help manage the drains to keep them clean and would immediately respond when residents report any inundations.

He gave as an example the drains near the National Monument (Monas) park in Central Jakarta. '€œThe workers previously found a truckload of cable jackets inside the drain on Jl. Medan Merdeka Selatan,'€ he said.

Water Management Agency head Teguh Hendarwan said that the cable jackets were the remains of electrical cables whose copper had been removed by thieves.

In a bid to improve the cleanliness of an area, Ahok gave the authority to subdistrict office heads to have dozens of workers help them maintain their areas. The job descriptions of the workers range from collecting trash, sweeping roads and cleaning drains to topping trees.

Besides those who work under the command of the subdistrict offices, agencies like the Water Management Agency and the Sanitation Agency also have task forces to handle more complicated problems.

Ahok said that some areas in Jakarta were still inundated after Thursday night'€™s downpour because, for example, of broken pumps.

Dozens of roads, mostly in West Jakarta and North Jakarta, were inundated with up to 40 centimeters of water last night.

As of Friday, smartcity.jakarta.go.id recorded at least 594 reports of flooding. However, most of the reports had been followed up by the officers.

Ahok said that he encouraged residents to keep reporting any inundations in their areas through the monitoring app Qlue, so the officers could respond to them quickly.

He said that the inundations in the northern part of the Jakarta would likely continue as a result of the rising sea level in addition to the fact that 40 percent of the city'€™s land was under sea level because of incessant subsidence.

'€œTherefore, we will build embankments along the Jakarta coast and rivers,'€ he said, referring to the National Capital Integrated Coastal Development (NCICD) phase A.

The governor said that the city had called for tenders on the project, adding that it was to be finished in 2017.

The city administration, the central government and the private developers that got the concession to create 17 artificial islets will build a 93-kilometer embankment along the Jakarta coast and rivers to block seawater.

Teguh said his 262 task forces as well as the workers from the subdistrict offices would stay on alert during the rainy season to ensure any inundations would quickly recede.

Teguh said that his personnel kept dismantling constructions above the drains as well as opening clogged drains, especially on road crossings, so the water could flow better.

'€œThe main reason of inundation is that the water cannot flow,'€ he said.

He said that places with heavy inundations, like Kelapa Gading in North Jakarta, needed more advanced solutions, like creating a water reservoir.

'€” JP/Corry Elyda

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