Flood victims face hunger, overcrowding

from Jakarta Post
Published on 19 Jan 2013 View Original

Margareth S. Aritonang, The Jakarta Post, Jakarta | Headlines | Sat, January 19 2013, 10:05 AM

More than 18,000 people have been displaced by the floods that have struck Jakarta. Some report facing hunger, dysentery and poor sanitation. Others have taken shelter in Transjakarta bus stops.

In Bendungan Hilir, Central Jakarta, hundreds of people have temporarily taken refuge in a low-rent apartment building.

Bukhori, a resident of the inundated subdistrict, one of 102 of 267 flooded subdistricts in Jakarta, has been occupying a space in the building since Tuesday.

The 38-year-old said that several aid posts had been established nearby the apartment building, although aid distribution had been uneven, with some buying their own food.

“Some of us have been lucky enough. We still have some money to buy food. But some of us are starving and haven’t received any aid,” Bukhori, who works as a vendor at the Bendungan Hilir traditional market, said. “We are in dire need of help, be it from political parties or other organizations. It doesn’t really matter where it comes from.”

Another evacuee in the apartment building, Ruminah, 38, said that many children were suffering dysentery due to poor sanitation on the building’s first two floors, where most of the evacuees have been staying.

“We received medicine from the PMI [Indonesian Red Cross], but that’s not enough. A lot of people have started to suffer from colds as well, because some of us sleep on cold floors without any floor mats or blankets,” she said.

In other flooded areas, Jakartans have taken to Transjakarta shelters for emergency accommodations while waiting for the waters to recede.

Transjakarta Management Agency spokeswoman Sri Ulina Pinem said that several people forced from their homes by the floods have taken refuge at four Transjakarta shelters on Jl. Daan Mogot in West Jakarta, where waters have been as high as a meter-and-a-half.

“Each shelter is occupied by two to three families. We allow them to stay there, with supervision from our officers,” Sri said. “We haven’t prepared any specific aid for the flood victims, despite allowing them to stay at the shelters.”

Meanwhile, several political parties have also been providing aid to the displaced. Nurul, 24, a resident of Rawa Jati, South Jakarta, said she received meals, blankets and used clothing from the Prosperous Justice Party (PKS) at her refuge under the Kalibata overpass.

General Elections Monitoring Body (Bawaslu) chairman Muhammad said the donations would be legal as long people were not encouraged to join the parties or state money was not used for the donations. (nad)