Cleaning up after the flood at an elementary school in Jakarta. (Antara Photo/Aprillio Akbar)

Jakartans to File Class Action Against City Administration for Disastrous Flood Management

BY :LENNY TRISTIA TAMBUN

JANUARY 06, 2020

Jakarta. Jakarta's provincial government is facing the prospect of a class action lawsuit from residents impacted by the disastrous New Year's Day floods that have so far killed 67 people. 

A group of lawyers and flood victims, who call themselves the Jakarta Flood Victims Advocacy Team, announced on Sunday their intention to bring the city administration to court for "negligence and inability to prevent and overcome floods."

"We've assessed the problems that have occured [because of the negligence] and the losses suffered by the community thanks to that negligence, [which is] against the law. We invite other [flood victims] to bring this class action suit together," Alvon Kurnia Palma, the advocacy team's spokesperson, said on Sunday. 

This will be the second class action the Jakarta administration will have to deal with for its inadequate handling of disasters. A group of flood victims also brought the administration to court in 2007 but lost the lawsuit. 

Yayan Yuhanah, the head of the city's legal department, said it has not received any notice of a new lawsuit. But, he said the city is ready to go to court if necessary.  

"Yes, we will face the suit. We won't be running away from it," Yayan said. 

Jakarta suffered its worst flood in five years last week. Torrential rains —  the worst in more than two decades according to the weather agency — put more than half of the city's subdistricts and many areas in the capital's satellite cities under water.

The National Disaster Management Agency (BNPB) has updated the death toll from the floods in Jakarta, Bogor, Depok, Tangerang and Bekasi to 67. 

Prasetio Edi Marsudi, the Jakarta city council (DPRD Jakarta) speaker, said he supported the flood victims' class action against the provincial government. 

"That's their right. Everyone who feels aggrieved by the flood can file a lawsuit," Prasetio said. 

"Some of these residents think the severity of the flood was due to the provincial government's inadequate response. The city lacked preparation [against floods]. Its flood management was practically non-existent," Prasetio said. 

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