Monday, February 05, 2007

The Great Jakarta Flood of 2007

Heavy rain has flooded up to 70% of Indonesia's capital Jakarta and killed at least 25 people and forced some 340,000 people from their homes. The flood is Jakarta's worst in recent years and it doesn't look like it will get better as rain is expected to fall until next week. From BBC:
Several days of torrential rain have caused rivers to burst their banks, sending muddy water up to 3m (10ft) deep into homes and businesses.

Hundreds of residents are still holding out on the second floor of their homes, either trapped or unwilling to move, the BBC's Rebecca Henschke in Jakarta says.

Many people are sheltering in schools and mosques.

Medical teams on rubber rafts are working in the worst affected areas, while thousands of soldiers and extra police have been deployed to help with evacuation efforts.

In some parts horse-drawn carts were deployed to rescue people from their homes.
Meanwhile, Indonesian bloggers have been providing good reports and views of the flood that has devastated their capital. Andrew Glavina praised the character of Indonesians who have to face one tragedy after another and said that the Indonesia government should take the blame:
I think it must be indicative of the character of Indonesians, probably due to their having to adapt to everyday hardships, that they continue to smile in the face of tragedies or disasters. I’m not suggesting that there isn’t a great deal of suffering due to the flooding. There most definitely is. 75% of Jakarta is affected, in some areas as water is 4 metres deep. 340,000 people have been forced out of their homes and the rains are expected to continue for another week. The death Toll hit 25. We’re very fortunate to be where we are. Citra Raya is a new development with proper drainage. This is the worst flood in Jakarta in 5 years. Coincidentally the last big flood was exactly 5 years ago to the day. At that time the Governor of Jakarta had promised to upgrade the drainage system throughout Jakarta. Instead they used the money to develop a new monorail system in Central Jakarta. 3 months ago the Governor made a statement assuring that “we will not see floods like we did in 2002 again”.
Over the blog At Home With Friends, Amreta talked about storm water flooding her house:
The water went up and up and up. When we woke up very early on Friday morning, the water was still very high. We looked down from our balcony, saw people 'swimming' in the flood, we could only see their heads above the water. Turned out they're guys from our neighborhood, working very hard hand-in-hand to put ropes along the streets so that people can hang on them since the current in that particular junction (just below our balcony) was very strong.

... Sunday night, finally the water decreased, at least one meter, and we could go downstairs and see the damages the flood had cause. I almost cried. We saw the refrigerator and furnitures floating. And this is the hardest part: the bookshelves had collapsed, and my books...drawn in the muddy water!

My house mates and I tried to save the books, some of them were still in shape but wet and muddy, but most of the 'pretty' books (designs, interior, cookbooks...) were destroyed already. Some books were saved, though, my housemates managed to save them upstairs while we still had the electricity on, and some of them were on top of the tall cupboard.
Another house that was flooded is Crappiliciouz's:
The flood here is terrible man..my house is flooded1.5m..geezz..just a few days ago,i was staying in my cousin's house..that day was the longest day ever!hahaha..it all started at about 2pm,the beginning of my torture haha..the electricity was cut off!damn..no electricity no tv,no computer,no air con no nothing!lol..what a pampered life..so for the whole afternoon,my cousin and i were just watching the flood from the rooftop while waiting impatiently for our platics boats hahaha..at 6 pm,darkness loomed over the sky man..it was candle time..haha..but further more!it was dinner time for the mosquitos..omg man.
The Lucretius Plan calls the Jakarta flood, a swamp thing and highlighted Jakarta's geography as one of the problems:
The problem is that Jakarta is basically a shallow bowl with steep hills on one side and the sea on the other. Most of the city sits below sea level, and when the Dutch had the great idea of building their colonial capital here, Batavia (as it then was) was basically a mosquito-infested swamp. The redoubtable Captain Bligh, having survived the mutiny on the Bounty and an intrepid 3,400 mile trip in an open boat across turbulent seas dotted with treacherous reefs, almost died of malaria in Batavia and described the place as a pestilential hell-hole. Little has changed, and as flood water engulfed the State Palace on Friday, there is serious talk of reviving former President Sukarno's plan of moving the capital to Kalimantan or Sulawesi.

Although the rains have eased off in the city today, it continues to fall on the hills, adding pressure to the main sluice-gate that holds back the Ciliwung river. The water has nowhere else to go but through Jakarta to get to the sea, so later today it is anticipated that, literally, the floodgates will be opened, adding more misery to the damp citizens of the city.
And finally, Delia Is My Name asked what happens when there is a flood in Jakarta?:
1. There is a swimming pool that is brown in colour inside my house
2. My family in Jakarta have to shift to a service apartment to stay
3. The furniture on the first level are damaged
4. The new dining table which is only about 2 months old say goodbye to us
5. No more grandma's room, guests' room and maid's room

So what do i expect?

Weeeeee... new set of furnitures in my house!!!

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