Spotlight: Jakarta flood whistling environmental warning siren for new year

Source: Xinhua| 2020-01-03 17:01:00|Editor: ZX
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by Bambang Purwanto

JAKARTA, Jan. 3 (Xinhua) -- Not only did fireworks, horn noises, and musical shows mark the New Year celebration in Indonesia's capital of Jakarta as well as its surrounding cities, but also massive flooding which flashed the areas following heavy rains since the New Year's Eve when most people were preparing for the event.

People who live in Jakarta and its satellite cities, which locals call Jabodetabek (Jakarta, Bogor, Depok, Tangerang and Bekasi), have been used to experiencing flooding, especially when the rainy season comes.

However, the New Year flooding that hit those cities has claimed 43 lives due to electric shock, drowning, and hypothermia. Meanwhile, 31,000 people have to be moved out from their houses. The number of the victims may increase as downpours are expected to occur in coming days.

Jakarta's Governor Anies Baswedan, along with other officials of such institutions as the Indonesian National Disaster Management Agency (BNPB), the National Search and Rescue Agency (Basarnas) team, and people are hand in hand to help those who are affected by the natural disaster.

The governor went to the flood-affected areas to ensure that the evacuations were running well and people were removed to safer grounds.

As the evacuation process is going on, the Meteorology, Climatology and Geophysical Agency (BMKG) stated that despite the high rainfalls that took place on December 31, 2019 and lasted until January 1, 2020, the rainy season has not reached its peak, which is estimated to come between mid-January and March.

"Yesterday's rainfalls were the highest for the past 24 years based on data," the agency's head Dwikorita Karnawati told media.

BMKG classifies rainfall intensity into four categories, namely light rain (5-20 millimeters/day), moderate rain (20-50 millimeters/day), heavy rain (50-100 millimeters/day) and very heavy rain (above 100 millimeters/day).

The Indonesian government built the Eastern Canal (Kanal Timur) in 2003, and conducted a dredging project at some sites in 2009, supported by the World Bank.

In 2013, the government launched the National Capital Integrated Coastal Development that included normalization of some watersheds of Ciliwung, Krukut, Cakung and Sunter.

Indonesian President Joko Widodo asserted that flood management has to be done together.

"The central government, as well as provincial, district and city administrations should work together," he said in Jakarta on Thursday.

Besides the uncomplete flood-controlling infrastructure projects, the president cautioned that people's behavior, especially littering, also could cause flooding that could lead to ecological damage.

With the flooding hit in the earliest day of 2020, people are expected to become more and more aware of the importance of preserving environment and supporting efforts made by all parties including the central government as well as provincial and district administrations.