After five days, flood victims still await assistance

Clean water and food aid had yet to reach residents who had decided to stay put in their inundated homes in Kalideres, West Jakarta, as of Thursday as the city administration prioritized distribution of aid at refugee shelters.

In Tegal Alur subdistrict, Kalideres, Rijah, 48, whose house was still under 70 centimeters (cm) of water, said that she had not received help of any kind from the administration.

“I only got 1 liter of rice and two packs of instant noodles from the owner of a warehouse next door,” she said, pointing to a warehouse in Jl. Kapuk Kamal Raya.

Rijah, who preferred not to evacuate her family, said that unlike the last big flood, there was no subdistrict officer helping or distributing aid.

“We have to use the bathroom of our neighbor whose home is not flooded. I have to cook further up the street on the side of the road. It’s dry there,” she said when asked how she fulfilled her family’s daily needs.

Like most houses in the area, Rijah’s home is a two-story house that allows residents to move furniture and provides them with a dry place to sleep when floods arrive.

Due to heavy rains over two days on Monday and Tuesday, several areas in Jakarta, mostly along rivers, suffered inundations.

Based on data collected by the Jakarta Disaster Mitigation Agency (BPBD), there were 21 inundated subdistricts in the capital and the floods in most of these areas had receded by Friday but some areas, all in West Jakarta, were still under water.

“Flooding to a depth of around 10 cm to 20 cm can still be found in Kedoya, West Cengkareng, East Cengkareng, Rawa Buaya, Duri Kosambi and Kalideres. Other parts are all clear,” BPBD head Arfan Arkili said.

All evacuees had returned to their homes, and all sluice gates had also returned to normal levels, Arfan added.

Previously, the BPBD reported that 850 people were evacuated in Ulujami, Pesanggrahan, Bintaro and Pondok Labu in South Jakarta; 50 people were evacuated in Kali Sari, East Jakarta; and 1,530 were evacuated in Kedoya Selatan, Duri Kosambi, Rawa Buaya and Cengkareng in West Jakarta.

Santi Purwaningsih, 33, whose house has been under 40 cm of water since Monday, said that her family received food aid from the makeshift public kitchen set up near her house although it was far from adequate.

“Each family received one meal box and there are four people in my house,” she said, adding that the water had started to recede on Thursday morning.

“Unlike the big flood five years ago, there have been no subdistrict administration officers checking our condition,” she said.

At least seven alleys along Jl. Kamal Raya in Tegal Alur were flooded to a depth of 5 cm to 70 cm.

Arfan said that his team had been prepared for the floods since November last year. He said that in October, the governor had instructed the mayors, district heads and subdistrict heads to prepare their equipment and logistics for the coming floods.

“All the devices and logistics were moved to subdistrict offices so it was easier for the public to access them,” he said.

According to Arfan, his team had monitored 77 potential flooding areas throughout Jakarta and prepared evacuation locations, logistics, public kitchens and health services.

“We quickly responded to subdistrict heads when their areas lacked anything, for example when Kedoya subdistrict needed water, we sent it to them right away,” he added.

However, Arfan regretted that many people in inundated areas did not want to be evacuated.

“We have prepared all the equipment and logistics but some people do not want to be evacuated from their homes. This makes it harder for us to distribute aid,” he said.

Arfan also claimed that they had figured out how to solve problems in the flood aftermath. He said that the BPBD would prepare teams who would clean the inundated areas and augment the community health services for resultant illnesses, such as skin rashes, diarrhea and respiratory tract infections.

“According to the report of the Jakarta Health Agency, there has been no epidemic so far,” Arfan said. (cor)