The Jakarta Globe, January 16, 2013
Several areas in Jakarta were inundated with water on Tuesday after key rivers burst their banks, with officials and experts now warning that the situation could worsen over the next few days as surging river levels force authorities to open a critical flood barrier.
The National Disaster Mitigation Agency (BNPB) issued a flood warning on Tuesday after the water level at the Katulampa floodgate in Bogor rose from 150 centimeters to 210 centimeters in a matter of hours on Tuesday morning.
BNPB spokesman Sutopo Purwo Nugroho said the conditions had forced authorities to open the dam or risk flooding upstream areas.
The dam controls the water level of Jakarta’s main waterway, the Ciliwung River, which runs through densely populated slum areas in South and East Jakarta.
Sutopo said with the dam open, a flood warning had been issued for areas in Jakarta surrounding the river, mainly Rawajati, Kalibata, Pengadegan, Cawang, Kebon Baru, Bukit Duri and Kampung Melayu.
“Jakarta residents must be vigilant, particularly in areas prone to floods,” he said.
Sutopo said that the expected flooding would likely be more intense than earlier floods this rainy season.
Surging water levels were also reported on the Pesanggrahan River, which runs through parts of South, Central and West Jakarta, following heavy downpours for most of Tuesday in the upstream area of Puncak in Bogor.
Arfan Arkili, head of the Jakarta Disaster Mitigation Agency (BPBD), said five district and nine provincial units have been asked to remain on high alert for flooding.
Flooding in areas surrounding the Pesanggrahan was observed as of Tuesday morning and was expected to worsen later in the evening.
Meanwhile, the Sekretaris River in Grogol Petamburan, West Jakarta, overflowed and killed one teenager identified as Angga, 13, who was swept away by strong currents after he falling into the water.
Arfan said the incident occurred at 11 a.m. on Tuesday. Angga’s lifeless body was discovered a few minutes later.
In South Jakarta, Jalan Ciledug Raya was cut off by the surging Pesanggrahan, which crippled traffic in both directions.
“The flood has made it impossible for vehicles to pass and many vehicles have taken a detour,” said motorist Muthia Soediro.
“I left home at 7:30 a.m. and I only arrived at work at 11:45 a.m.”
In Kampung Melayu, East Jakarta, hundreds of homes by the Ciliwung were inundated in nearly two meters of water on Tuesday evening, with some areas beginning to be flood from 6 p.m. The flooding there has forced at least 1,200 people to evacuate to temporary shelters.
Some schools have also told their students not to come today out of fear of more flooding and gridlocked traffic.