Lenny Tristia Tambun & Dessy Sagita
More than 2,400 people are displaced and living in tents and makeshift refuge shelters across the city after several floods inundated parts of Jakarta this week, officials said on Wednesday.
The chief of the Jakarta Disaster Mitigation Agency, Arfan Arkili, said rain in the upstream areas south of Jakarta on Tuesday evening caused fresh flooding on Wednesday, prompting the number of evacuees to grow from 850 on Tuesday to nearly three times that on Wednesday.
While the flooding that began on Monday evening and lasted through Wednesday morning displaced 2,430 people, Arfan added, it has actually affected more than 7,000.
“For the rest, there are many who choose to stay at their houses or evacuate to their neighbors’ or family members’ homes that are unaffected,” he said.
Hundreds of homes were flooded along major Jakarta waterways including the Ciliwung, Pesanggrahan, Angke and Krukut rivers, with some submerged under 1.5 meters of water.
There have not been any reported casualties from the floods, which have affected the capital for three days, but access to some areas were cut off, causing major traffic jams.
Arfan also reported that water flowing from upstream areas, along with heavy sedimentation near the Cengkareng drainage system and the West Flood Canal in West Jakarta, had caused a breach in part of a nearby dike.
The breach, he said, caused the busy Jalan Daan Mogot to be cut off by surging water.
“Traffic in the area crawled to a standstill,” he said. “It is completely inaccessible.”
Cars and motorcycles on roads leading to the area, including from the airport and the Tomang toll road, were stuck in traffic for hours before the water finally receded on Wednesday afternoon.
West Jakarta resident Afan Anugroho said he sat in traffic for more than three and a half hours to cover a distance that would normally have taken less than an hour.
In East Jakarta’s flood-prone Kampung Melayu, a total of six community units (RW) where some 1,000 people live were sitting in between 20 and 100 centimeters of water.
In South Jakarta’s Pesanggrahan and Kebayoran Baru subdistricts, at least 850 people were evacuated after their homes were inundated by 30 to 150 centimeters of water.
The city has not yet released an estimate of the financial losses incurred by the surging waters.
According to the Meteorology, Climatology and Geophysics Agency (BMKG), areas around Jakarta would see more medium- to high-intensity rain. The agency issued a warning for residents in flood-prone areas in Jakarta to remain vigilant and make contingency plans.
The Ministry of Health also warned residents about a possible outbreak of diseases associated with flooding.
“Diseases that normally occur during floods are diarrhea, dengue fever, canicola fever, acute breathing infections, warts and indigestion,” said the ministry’s director general on disease control and environmental health, Tjandra Yoga Aditama.
Tjandra said the chances of infectious diseases spreading during floods would increase drastically as sources of water became contaminated.
Surging water, he said, forces pests such as rats and cockroaches to come out of hiding and contaminate areas with germs and bacteria, while standing water in flooded areas can become a breeding ground for mosquitoes.
“Avoid playing in water, particularly if you have an open wound,” he said. “Use protective gear like shoes if you have to go to flooded areas.
Tjandra said that if waters do not recede soon, the number of infections could rise.
“[The ministry] has prepared [medical] supplies and personnel as well as a rapid response team at every level,” he said.