City Authorities Scramble to Counter Wet Season’s First Major Flood
As officials hurried to set up health posts and prepare hospitals to take care of flood victims from the area, Jakarta secretary Fadjar Panjaitan said the administration had both a short- and long-term plan to overcome the problem.
Pondok Labu has always been prone to flooding and the floodwaters that sent hundreds of families fleeing the area on Sunday night was the capital’s first major incident since the start of this year’s rainy season.
Fadjar said the flooding was caused by heavy rains in the upstream areas of the Krukut River.
The short-term plan, Fadjar said, is to build a canal to divert some of the water from the Krukut River from areas where the river had narrowed because of heavy construction to wider ones. Construction of the canal would begin this month and Rp 1 billion ($113,000) has been allocated for it.
Over the longer term, authorities will build a dam to regulate the flow of the river. Construction will begin in 2012 at a cost of Rp 10 billion, he said.
“There still are land plots that need to be freed [for the dam], so while waiting we will build the canals through the land we have already purchased,” Fadjar said.
The head of the city’s water resource management, Tarjuki, said the reservoir was expected to cover an area of 1.6 hectares but 7,825 square meters of land still had to be purchased.
Jakarta Governor Fauzi Bowo, in a visit to the flooded area on Monday with Coordinating Minister for People’s Welfare Agung Laksono, said the participation of local residents was needed to free up the land needed for the dam.
“It is likely residents will need to be relocated,” the governor said, according to Beritajakarta.com.
Fadjar denied that the flooding was due to the construction of a shooting range for the marines. He said the marines had actually already built concrete embankment along the river passing through the range.
“It is now the duty of the Jakarta administration to build the remaining embankment,” Fadjar said, adding, however, that many of the areas along the river were currently packed with buildings.
Tarjuki said the Pondok Labu area was actually a water basin that was unfit to be used for settlements. He said the government was now trying to free the land and return it into a green open space that functions as a water reservoir during the rainy season.
The head of the city’s health office, Dien Emmawati, said that besides erecting two temporary health posts in the flooded area, the government has also prepared four local hospitals to admit any victims of the flooding and treat them for free.
She said that the posts have already treated 23 patients for minor ailments.
Dien said her office had also distributed disinfectants to local residents, to be used once the waters recede.
A total of 1,268 people from 358 families have been evacuated from the flooded areas. The flood, city data says, has inundated 325 houses in five neighborhoods.
The evacuees are currently sheltered at a temporary camp, a mosque and a church.