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Jakarta braces for more flooding

Updated: 2012-12-23 14:04
By News Desk ( asianewsnet)

Jakarta braces for more flooding

Jakarta braces for more flooding

Surf’s up: Motorists traverse a flooded Jl. Gatot Subroto in South Jakarta following a heavy downpours on Saturday. (JP/P.J. Leo)

A torrential downpour led to floods and horrendous gridlock on several of Jakarta’s major thoroughfares on Saturday, as officials warned of a chance for more flooding in coming days.

Traffic was at a near standstill on the city’s main artery, Jl. Sudirman in Central Jakarta, parts of which were under half a metre of water on Saturday. Only the dedicated Transjakarta busway lane and the outermost lane could be traversed.

Flooding also fouled the streets near the Senayan traffic circle, the Casablanca area in South Jakarta, Jl. Kyai Tapa in West Jakarta, and on Jl. Surabaya, Jl. Gatot Soebroto, and Jl. Budi Kemuliaan, according to the Jakarta Transportation Agency.

In Cikini, Central Jakarta, some vehicles broke down, further obstructing traffic, reported.

Separately, the National Disaster Mitigation Agency (BNPB) has warned the city to brace for more floods and heavy rains.

The inundated streets and gridlocked thoroughfares have frustrated Jakarta’s residents well before the peak of the rainy season, which is expected in late January, according to the National Meteorology, Climatology and Geophysics Agency (BMKG).

Jakarta Governor Joko 'Jokowi' Widodo said clogged sewers, which he previously earmarked for a cleaning programme, had worsened the floods on Saturday. He said the administration had asked the Indonesian Military to send troops to clean the city’s sewers if other relevant agencies failed to aid Jakarta, as reported by Kompas.comon Saturday

Jakarta Public Works Agency chief Ery Basworo said with or without the governor’s order, the agency routinely, if not every day, cleaned gutters to ensure proper drainage.

He said that the two-metre-high drainage system on Jl. Sudirman and the pumps on Jl. MH Thamrin could stream 30 cubic metres of water a second into nearby rivers were examples of the “perfect” infrastructure that the city had in place to mitigate flooding.

Ery attributed the floods on Saturday to the high intensity of rain and to the sedimentation of the city’s rivers.

The capacity of the city’s 13 rivers to accommodate runoff water has sharply decreased due to the construction of homes, most of which are illegal and semi-permanent, on riverbanks.

Ery said that the most reasonable solution was to dredge and expand the rivers under the Jakarta Emergency Dredging Initiative (JEDI), a joint program of the agency and the Public Works Ministry.

Under the JEDI initiative, which has been funded by a US$150 million World Bank loan, 13 rivers in the city are to be dredged.