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Jakartans brace for floods next month JAKARTA - The Meteorology and Geophysics Agency (BMG) says rainfall in Jakarta in January will be almost as high as it was during the disastrous floods in 2002. Agency forecasting head Achmad Zakir told The Jakarta Post on Tuesday that the capital would have between 26 and 28 rainy days during the month, with rainfall of between 50 millimeters and 100 mm per day. It took at least 75 mm of rain a day over three consecutive days to cause floods in Jakarta, another staff member, who wished to remain anonymous, said.
Zakir said rain would begin to fall on successive days in late December with the arrival of westerly winds. "The heaviest rainfall will be in January and February," Zakir said. Another contributing factor was the high tides during a full moon. The next full moon will be in the first week of January. "Two days of more than 75 mm daily rain combined with the high tide will cause flooding," the BMG staff member said. Jakartans fear a possible repeat of the 2002 flood calamity, which claimed at least 31 lives. The capital was paralyzed for days as 168 of 262 subdistricts were swamped and 300,000 residents had to be evacuated.
To minimize floods, the administration earmarked Rp 37 billion (US$4.35 million) to undertake eight dredging projects -- on the Krukut river, Ciliwung river, Grogol river, Cakung river, Sunter river and Mookervart river, and in Pulo Mas and Pluit reservoirs -- supposedly starting in November. However, some people who work on the banks of the Ciliwung river said that they had not seen any dredging in the last few months.
"The last time they dredged the river around here was after the big floods last year," said a boat driver as he took people across the Ciliwung river near Pasar Rumput, South Jakarta. At the Manggarai sluice gate, garbage floated on the water and threatened to block the gate. "We have excavators ready to scrape the trash out should it become overwhelming," said an employee there. Four excavators sat idly nearby.
BMG warned people in the capital in October that torrential rain would reach its peak in January and February next year. An early warning system has been developed by the city's crisis prevention center by coordinating subdistrict heads through a hotline. It has yet to try out its new system. The center had a budget of several hundred billion rupiah, according to its coordinating team officer, Z.A.T. Siregar.
A total of 40,874 personnel from the administration, police, military, search and rescue squad, the local Red Cross and a student outdoor activity group are on call in the case of floods. Many people put the blame for the floods on diminishing water catchment areas. In 1965, Jakarta had around 24,000 hectares of green area, or around 40 percent of its 60,000-hectares. The figure decreased to 18,000 hectares in 1985 and to 6,000 hectares in 1998. Now Jakarta only has 4,320 hectares of green space.
Bylaw No. 5/1984 on Jakarta's spatial zoning states that the city must have between 26.5 percent and 31.5 percent, or between 15,900 hectares and 18,900 hectares, of green space. Environmentalists have slammed the administration for pushing through more commercial high-rise buildings at the cost of green areas.



Posted in Flooding @ 10 December 2003 00:02 CET by Jeroen · 'Blog' RSS feed · permalink






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