Governor Fauzi Bowo says Jakarta residents must brace for floods in several vulnerable parts of the city, despite increased efforts by the city administration to mitigate flooding. Fauzi said flooding would still occur in the capital, especially along main rivers, as work on some of the rivers was ongoing. “We have dredged and widened a number of rivers, but have fallen short of reinforcing their banks with concrete walls,” Fauzi told reporters on Monday.
He said that construction workers had yet to complete projects on the Pesanggrahan River in South Jakarta and the downstream part of the Sunter River in North Jakarta. Work on the Pesanggrahan River has been dogged by legal problems. “We are ready to buy land in Bintaro for the project, but we are having problems getting the deeds,” Fauzi said.
Fauzi said flooding would still happen in vulnerable areas, but he expected that water would recede faster than it did last year. He also said the city administration would generally be better prepared for widespread flooding. “I have ordered mayors to warn residents in flood-prone areas in case of a possible disaster. I want all of the municipal government leaders to be able to respond quickly to the problem,” he said.
The Jakarta administration also joined forces with the Public Works Ministry and its Ciliwung-Cisadane Flood Control Office (BBWSCC) to continue updating residents on possible floods. The Public Works Agency earlier said that the city had not adequately informed residents in flood-prone areas about possible flooding, especially during torrential rain.
The early warning system for flooding is available for people living in upstream areas, where officials in Depok and Bogor, West Java, monitor water levels in rivers flowing to Jakarta such as the Ciliwung, Krukut and Pesanggrahan Rivers.
Jakarta has been warned to brace for an unusually intense rainy season this year. The US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) predicted that Indonesia would experience 70 percent more rain than normal this season due to the climate phenomenon known as La Nina.
La Niña is associated with cooler-than-normal temperatures in the equatorial Pacific Ocean.
The Meteorology, Climatology and Geophysics Agency (BKMG) says the rainy season will reach its peak in January and February.
Jan Sopaheluwakan, the former deputy for natural resources at the Indonesian Institute of Sciences (LIPI), said Jakarta could still be hit by massive flooding, and both the city and central government needed to join the effort.
“Jakarta is located on one of the largest deltas in Indonesia, and flood management needs to be done not only by the city administration but also by the central government,” Jan said.
He said that Jakarta was vulnerable to flooding caused by overflowing rivers from heavy rain in the southern upstream areas in West Java and floods caused by the rising sea level on the northern coast.
The city suffered its worst flood in recent memory in 2007, when about 70 percent of Jakarta was inundated, killing at least 57 people and forcing more than 450,000 to evacuate. That was followed by a major flood in 2008. (The Jakarta Post, Jakarta | City | Tue, November 08 2011, 5:00 AM)