Jakarta drafts contingency plan to curb disaster risks

The Jakarta administration is devising a disaster preparation plan to help manage the extraordinary risk that disastrous flooding poses to the capital.

The Jakarta Disaster Mitigation Agency (BPBD) is drafting a contingency plan for Jakarta’s five municipalities, in a bid to educate citizens on disaster mitigation.

“We are planning to provide evacuation maps and flooding-mitigation guides in each community unit across the city,” BPBD Arfan Arkili said Tuesday.

The guide, Arfan explained, would provide details of safe spots in the area that residents could use to evacuate and also a list of emergency numbers to call.

“The aim of the contingency plan is to provide enough information for the citizens so they won’t be helpless in face of disaster,” he said.

The plan’s development will be supported by the United Nations Secretariat’s Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) and involve officials from Jakarta’s Public Order Agency, Fire and Disaster Management Department, Public Works Agency, Social Affairs Agency, Health Agency and the local branch of Indonesian Red Cross.

The Jakarta administration recently warned its citizens to brace for floods in several vulnerable parts of the city, saying that flooding in capital was inevitable despite increased efforts to mitigate flooding.

Flooding is expected to occur in the capital, especially along main rivers, as repair work on some of the canals is still ongoing.

The Meteorology, Climatology and Geophysics Agency (BMKG) has warned Jakarta residents that the rainy season in the city would peak between mid-January and mid-February, during which time torrential rains would hit almost all areas in Jakarta.

Residents in northern areas of Jakarta will face a double threat of flooding due to high tides, which are predicted to arrive between Jan. 10 and 11 as well as between Jan. 22 and 23.

The National Disaster Mitigation Agency (BNPB) said that Jakarta’s rivers and waterways did not have the capacity to drain water from torrential rains quickly enough to prevent flooding, causing the city to suffer significant floods during the peak of the rainy season.

Jakarta’s Public Works Agency claimed that after a number of river dredging operations and the operation of the East Flood Canal in 2009, the city had reduced the number of flood-prone areas from 78 to 62 locations.

The locations include Tanjung Duren and Grogol in West Jakarta, Pluit and Pademangan in North Jakarta, Pulo Raya and Cipulir in South Jakarta, Cempaka Putih in Central Jakarta and Pulomas in East Jakarta.