Today, Jakarta was hit again by floods, brought on by heavy rainfall, that reached up to 50 centimeters at some locations and paralyzed part of Jakarta's traffic. Barely two weeks ago, Indonesia's capital city had experienced sustained floods that took the lives of more than 20 people and resulted in losses totaling US $3.3 billion. It might not be Jakarta's last day of floods as the rainy weather conditions are forecast to continue in February.
Floods are not uncommon to Jakarta. Certain areas of the megacity flood almost every year when the wet season is on its peak, but it rarely causes such chaotic conditions as last month or in 2007, when 70 people were killed and 350,000 people were forced out of their homes.
Last month persistent floods paralyzed Jakarta; people could not travel to work, children were not able to go to school, electricity had to be switched of due to electrocutions, and tens of thousands of people had to relocate or became homeless. Reason behind the floods is that Jakarta does not contain quality infrastructure. It lacks a proper drainage system as well as decent water management.
In order to mitigate the impact of future floods, Jakarta Governor Joko Widodo has mentioned a flood-mitigation program as one of his key policy concerns for Jakarta's medium-term development plan from 2013-2017. This program includes dredging and widening of Jakarta’s main waterways, shoring up embankments and levees, and the construction of a tunnel that can channel excess water directly out to sea. But as policy makers in Indonesia are generally known to be more productive in planning than in achieving planned results (due to red tape and a lack of funds), skeptics will wait for results first before becoming too optimistic.