A police officer from the mobile brigade walks along a flooded road after heavy seasonal rains flooded parts of Jakarta on Feb. 9. Indonesia's National Disaster Mitigation Agency expects the weather phenomenon El Nina to reach its peak in mid-2016, possible causing floods and landslides from heavy rainfall. (Reuters Photo/Darren Whiteside)

City Lays Out Future Flood Priorities as Jakarta Prepares for More Rain

FEBRUARY 11, 2015

Jakarta. New measures in the city's broad flood-prevention plan will not be active for at least two years, an official said on Wednesday as Jakartans prepared for more rain and commerce chiefs counted the cost of the worst floods of the rainy season so far.

Jakarta water agency chief Agus Priyono Jendro said on Wednesday that the city had yet to finish raising beach embankments, clearing rivers of garbage and building enough pumps to make a meaningful impact on flooding in the city's vulnerable northern reaches.

The agency plans to build new pumps in areas near Jakarta's coast, at Kamal, Angke, Muara Karang, Sentiong and Sunter Hilir.

"We will start the set up this year, but it will take two or three years to complete. It depends on conditions on the ground," Agus said on Wednesday at City Hall.

The city will also raise 32 kilometers of sea embankments around the coastal area. The projects will be split between the government and private sector. City Hall and the Ministry of Public Works plan to take four kilometers each.

"The pumps cannot prevent flooding from the seas without support from sufficient sea embankments. It's our responsibility," Agus said.

The project will also start this year and the areas with the lowest embankments will be assigned the highest priority.

The most pressing embankment areas are Kamal, Tanjungan, Kali Asin, Luar Batang, RE Martadinata, Cilincing, and Marunda. Embankments within the Ancol recreational park will be the responsibility of the operator.

Rustam Effendi, the mayor of North Jakarta, said almost 80 percent of North Jakarta region was flooded and many people were refusing to leave their homes.

Rustam told Kompas that only 150 out of 310 available centers were currently sheltering displaced people. Jakarta residents are generally reluctant to leave their homes during flooding because of security concerns.

Basuki Tjahaja Purnama became Jakarta governor last year and pledged to speed up flood-prevention works ahead of the rainy season.

Indonesia's meteorological agency, the BKMG, warned there was more rain to come in the next few days, with the potential for an already high water table to be exacerbated as surface water struggled to drain away.

$235 million damage

As businesses and residents surveyed the damage to their homes and places of business, Jakarta's Chamber of Commerce (Kadin) announced that it had calculated the cost at Rp 3 trillion ($235 million).

"In the past two days there have been thousands of kiosks and stores that were forced to close and stopped operating in five business districts in Jakarta," Kadin Jakarta chief Sarman Simanjorang said on Wednesday.

Sarman said approximately 75,000 stores across the capital had been forced to cease operation.

"Even though many malls stayed open, many stores were closed and the number of visitors declined because of the crippled transportation system and many employees skipped work," Sarman said.

He said that the city administration  needed to accelerate flood-prevention programs to prevent such losses in the future.

"We need to have a sustainable and integrated revitalization of the rivers and we also must improve the drainage system, especially at business districts," he said.

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Jakarta floods