Residents braving the floods in Kelapa Gading on Friday. (Antara Photo/Wahyu Putro A.)

Flooding Across Jakarta as Rain Continues; Experts Warn More to Come

BY :LENNY TAMBUN, BAYU MARHAENJATI & VENTO SAUDALE

JANUARY 23, 2015

Jakarta. Hours of rain from Thursday evening until well into Friday morning caused at least 36 locations across Jakarta to be inundated by water between 30 centimeters to a meter high, officials said.

According to Jakarta Disaster Mitigation Agency spokesman Bambang Suryaputra, flooding occurred across all five Jakarta municipalities, with North Jakarta being the most heavily affected.

Twenty-five areas in North Jakarta were inundated by water up to a meter deep, cutting access to some areas and causing massive gridlock in the others. The worst-affected area was Rawa Badak in North Jakarta, where entire housing complexes were flooded.

Zulkifli, 45, a Rawa Badak resident, said he had to miss work on Friday as some roads became inaccessible.

“I was planning on taking my wife to work but because of the flood I had to go to the mechanic instead and fix my motorcycle,” he said, while pushing his motorbike which had stalled in the water.

Meanwhile, Endah, 17, said she waited for hours under the drizzling rain on Friday morning, as no public transport was able to access Jalan Walang Baru Raya where she lives.

“Usually there are two routes which could take me to Jalan Yos Sudarso,” she said referring to a major street in North Jakarta connecting Cempaka Mas and Tanjung Priok. “But today there are no buses in service.”

Dozens of cars and motorcycles stalled as they braved the floods, causing major gridlock in some North Jakarta areas.

Jakarta traffic police deployed extra personnel on Friday to help redirect traffic and prevent flood-related accidents, said an officer.

Flooding often blurs the line between roads and open sewers, adding to road chaos.

In West Jakarta, flooding occurred at some sections of Jalan. S. Parman, particularly in front of the Trisakti Univesity campus, where the road sits below the water level of the nearby Grogol River.

Some flooding also occurred on Jalan Daan Mogot, which connects Jakarta and  Tangerang, causing gridlock and stalling cars and motorcycles.

Heavy rain caused dams in Cimanggis, Depok, and neighboring Bogor to overflow, officials said.

The hilly district of Bogor is where most of the rivers in Jakarta originate. The same waterways cut through Depok and Cimanggis.

The overflow prompted the Bogor government to deploy officials, workers and volunteers to reinforce the dams and to build makeshift levees to stop water from entering housing complexes.

Several dams along the Ciliwung River, the biggest waterway to cut through the capital, raised their alert level, officials said.

Dedi Sucahyono, chief of a weather station in Bogor, said light rain would continue to pour over the hilly area of North and West Bogor over the next few days, possibly raising water levels and increasing the likelihood of further flooding downriver.

Jakarta Governor Basuki Tjahaja Purnama said his office would continue to clear illegal squats from Jakarta’s waterways in an effort to stop flooding.

The city government has been tearing down homes along the Ciliwung River, particularly in the flood-prone area of Kampung Melayu, East Jakarta, where flooding occurs mainly in areas where the government is yet to work.

The city will also install several water pumps along Sentiong River in Central Jakarta and the Cakung Flood Canal which runs through East and North Jakarta.

Meanwhile, Jakarta Deputy Governor Djarot Saiful Hidayat instructed all urban wards in flood-prone areas to start preparing for a possible evacuation if the flooding worsens.

Djarot also warned city officials not to exploit the evacuation process, adding that his office would monitor how aid was distributed, and ensure that all affected Jakartans received the same treatment.

“I will hang urban wards and subdistrict chiefs who [ask for payoffs] from flood-hit residents,” he said.

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