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Jakarta Post

First rainfall in months in Greater Jakarta brings death, destruction, trash

  • A. Muh. Ibnu Aqil
    A. Muh. Ibnu Aqil

    The Jakarta Post

Jakarta   /   Wed, October 9, 2019   /   04:23 pm
First rainfall in months in Greater Jakarta brings death, destruction, trash Khomariah, 49, checks the pipe she uses to collect rainwater next to her house in a fishing village in Kamal Muara, Penjaringan, North Jakarta, on July 13. (JP/Donny Fernando)

The first downpour to hit Greater Jakarta and the surrounding regions after months of a prolonged dry season was welcomed by many on Tuesday evening, although it also caused some incidents and trash buildup in some areas.

In Cianjur regency, West Java, local officials recovered the bodies of two residents of Kanoman village in Cibeber district, who were trapped under the rubble of their house, which was hit by a landslide triggered by the heavy rain.

“The victims were husband and wife, whose name were Hendrik and Siti,” Cibeber district head Ali Akbar said on Tuesday as quoted by kompas.com.

He said that the recovery of their remains was hindered by a lack of lighting at the location. “The bodies of the victims have been relocated to a nearby puskesmas [community health center] before their families come to take them,” Ali said.

The landslide, which came from a cliff where a paddy field was located, also damaged another two houses underneath the cliff, Ali said. However, the people living in the houses had been able to escape in time.

In West Java’s Bogor city, heavy rain and strong winds also caused flash floods and landslides, damaging buildings as the disasters hit residential areas.

Bogor City Disaster Mitigation Agency operational staffer Yogi Marzati said that although the affected residents were unharmed, they suffered from material losses.

The agency said flash floods in the Cikaret area south of Bogor affected at least 23 families and also blocked some roads.

Yogi said a landslide caused when the heavy rain eroded the ground damaged a house in Cibogor, Central Bogor, while a building in the Gunung Batu area of West Bogor collapsed and hit a house.

“We are currently doing assessments and waiting for further cooperation from other relevant parties,” he said.

In the capital, the Jakarta Environment Agency cleaned heavy debris out of the Manggarai Water Gate that had been carried by the rainwater from the surrounding areas.

On Tuesday evening, the Katulampa Dam and Depok Flood Post reported an increase of water levels to alert level III and alert level II, respectively. By 3 a.m. on Wednesday the status had been declared safe again, but the increased water levels also brought debris into Jakarta.

“There was a lot of trash at Manggarai Water Gate [on Tuesday] evening. We have cleaned up up to 322 meter cubic of trash,” Jakarta Environment Agency head Andono Warih said in a statement on Wednesday.

“The trash was immediately sent to the Bantargebang landfill with seven large garbage trucks and 11 small garbage trucks,” he said.

He said that the trash included driftwood, plastics, large wood and other household waste. The clean-up used three pieces of heavy equipment.

If the trash was not immediately removed, the water gate would have been clogged and the water would rise to the surface, causing a flood. “We anticipate this with our workers on site 24 hours,” he said.

Workers were also stationed at the West Canal Flood (BKB) post near Season City Mall in West Jakarta to anticipate more debris and trash flowing in, although the site was so far still clear.

Andono said that the agency has established a task force of about 4,000 workers from the agency’s Water Body unit and equipped it with dozens of garbage trucks and pieces of heavy equipment to anticipate trash in the rainy season,

Workers were stationed in a number of sites to keep watch over possible buildups of trash and debris. “Every time there is a buildup of trash, our existing workers nearby and additional workers will be enlisted to work on site. We are ready 24 hours,” he said.