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Jakarta Post

Kampung Bandan fire victims asked for patience as city seeks solution

  • Sausan Atika

    The Jakarta Post

Jakarta   /   Tue, June 11, 2019   /   08:58 am
Kampung Bandan fire victims asked for patience as city seeks solution Residents of Kampung Bandan in North Jakarta work together to clear debris from houses that were destroyed in a fire on May 11. (The Jakarta Post/Sausan Atika )

Yuli was born 38 years ago and grew up in the Kampung Bandan railway neighborhood in North Jakarta until she became a housewife, but now she has to make do living in a “house” without walls or roof, since one month ago fires raged through the kampung she called home.

Yuli expresses discomfort about having to sleep and do household chores under a tarpaulin since the May 11 fire, as she had to deal with bad weather and the loud noise of people waking up neighbors for sahur (predawn meal) during Ramadan, which ended last week.

Other impacted residents had been forced to stay with relatives, rent new places, or rebuild their houses as the tents provided by the city administration and humanitarian organizations have been dismantled.

"It is up to the city administration to do something. [During his visit after the fire] the governor told us to be patient, saying the city was attempting to provide a better place for us to live," she told The Jakarta Post on Sunday.

Since then the administration had not shared any information on what it planned, she said. If it was considering vertical housing, she said she would not mind paying a monthly rent as long as she could afford it.

The food seller said she wishes to collect enough money to rebuild her house, which burned along with some 400 others last month. That might take some time, she said, as her income and her husband's combined was only just adequate to make ends meet for their family of five.

The May 11 fire razed three neighborhood units (RT) in community unit (RW) 5 in Kampung Bandan, displacing more than 3,000 people.   

The residents had actually been living on land owned by state-owned railway operator PT KAI.

Less than a week after the blaze, Jakarta Governor Anies Baswedan claimed that PT KAI had given approval for the city administration to build rusun (low-cost apartments) as a long-term solution, while the short-term one was to provide temporary shelters.

Other residents, however, oppose the idea, insisting they should be able to secure ownership rights to their houses.

Asep, 50, who was rebuilding his house with Hebel blocks on Sunday, opined that all measures attempted by the city administration would have consequences.

"The cost [for residents] to rebuild a house is cheaper than paying monthly rent for a rusun for, let's say, two years, so I personally refuse to move out," he said.

Asep said other residents shared similar opinions. "They would likely build houses of a similar size. Here, some people have larger houses compared to others, so they also disagree with the idea."

The Kampung Bandan fire prompted city-owned developer Perumda Pembangunan Sarana Jaya and PT KAI to draft a memorandum of understanding (MoU) about arranging areas in the vicinity of train stations across Jakarta.

"After the MoU is signed, a business-to-business [B2B] agreement would follow," Jakarta Governance Bureau head Premi Larasari said after a recent meeting held to discuss the matter.

Meanwhile, Jakarta Housing and Settlement Agency head Kelik Indriyanto said the agency is responsible for establishing shelters for the affected residents of Kampung Bandan. He said it is unclear when construction of the shelters would start.

"The long-term solution is the B2B agreement between Sarana Jaya and KAI, whether we would develop rusun or something else. Pak Marco will conduct a social survey," he said, referring to Marco Kusumawijaya, the head of the coastal area development division of the Governor's Team for Accelerated Development.

Shelters are to be built for 262 families. The number has decreased from the initial 450 families reported since some might have already moved away.

As the KAI also needs railway lines for parking trains, Kelik said the train operator had agreed on the plan.

To build shelters, the agency requires land to be cleared. Hence, the agency has called on residents not to rebuild houses. "That is the task of the North Jakarta mayor," he said.

North Jakarta Mayor Syamsuddin Lologau claimed that the impacted residents had agreed to the administration's plan to manage the area.

"If we ask the residents, they’re happy because there would be environmental improvements and a rise in their standard of living, as well as of their dignity," he said on Sunday.