Heavy rains during the rainy season - in combination with insufficient drainage infrastructure - caused massive flooding across Indonesia's capital city of Jakarta. The National Disaster Mitigation Agency (BNPB) reported that there are 54 areas in Jakarta, mostly in the eastern part of the city, that were flooded on Tuesday (21/02). At some locations in East Jakarta's Cipinang Melayu the water level was even as high as 150 centimeters.
Besides the personal drama for local residents, these floods also cause huge economic costs as Jakarta's shopping centers and commercial areas turn quiet. Losses (or missed revenue) are estimated at a total of hundreds of billions or rupiah with especially retail businesses suffering. This also involves the thousands of micro and small entrepreneurs who are located on river banks.
Apart from heavy rainfall overburdening the drainage system of Jakarta, floods are also caused by rising river levels (bursting their banks). The Ciliwung river, a 119 kilometers-long river in the western region of Java (stretching from Bogor to Jakarta) is the biggest river that causes problems. This heavily polluted river (mainly at its Jakarta sections) due to waste being thrown into the river (reducing the surface area of the river) - which indicates people's low awareness of water maintenance and ecological issues - causes floods almost every year. Moreover, with many of the original forests converted into settlements around the Puncak area, floods tend to become worse.
In the January-February period the rainy season hits its peak every year. In some years when floods are big it can lead to dozens of casualties and tens of thousands of people being dispatched from their homes. The BNPB stated that in Bekasi, a city within the Greater Jakarta area, one person drowned while nearly 300 others were forced to evacuate. The last big flood in Jakarta was in 2013 when losses reached IDR 20 trillion (approx. USD $1.5 billion).
Read more: Analysis of Natural Disasters in Indonesia