Floodwater again inundates Jakarta

Floodwater again inundates Jakarta

Jakarta Governor Basuki "Ahok" Tjahaja went on impromptu visits on Saturday afternoon to check on areas affected by floods that hit the capital on Friday evening and continued until early Saturday.

The governor visited Petogogan and Kemang in South Jakarta and went straight to the Karet sluice gate in Central Jakarta.

Ahok said Jakarta's water management system was poor as the rainwater was not distributed equally to all reservoirs and rivers, causing severe flooding in certain areas.

"Our water management system is poor. For example, out of all the sluice gates and reservoirs in Jakarta, only the Karet sluice gate was on Alert I. This means that water is not distributed properly," Ahok told reporters during his impromptu visit to the gate.

The Karet sluice gate is responsible for water distribution to, among others, the Krukut River, the Cideng River and the West Flood Canal. Ahok said that the flooding was mostly caused by the poor water distribution.

According to data from the Jakarta Natural Disaster Mitigation Agency (BPBD), as of Saturday afternoon, as many as 420 residents have been displaced by the flooding.

All displaced residents were those living in South Jakarta's Mampang Prapatan, located near the Krukut River, which was affected the most by the flooding with up to 2 meters of inundation.

The data also showed that seven districts were affected by the flooding, namely Central Jakarta's Tanah Abang, South Jakarta's Cilandak, Kebayoran Baru, Pesanggrahan and Mampang Prapatan, East Jakarta's Jatinegara and North Jakarta's Penjaringan.

Ahok went on to say that he had been monitoring the CCTV records of all reservoirs and sluice gates through his smartphone since late Friday. However, he said, he could not assess the situation at the Karet sluice gate because CCTV footage from the gate only gave him a view of the gate's roof and not of the water or of the gate. Apparently, all the CCTV cameras at the gate were facing upwards.

Ahok said that he was suspicious that someone was responsible for the strange positioning of the CCTV cameras and for the uneven water distribution.

"Look at this, all the CCTV cameras are pointed toward the roof. That's why I came here to check on what's going on and why all the water is directed to the Karet water sluice," he said, adding that the CCTV cameras' positions were set remotely through a computer.

He added that the Karet sluice gate was not capable of containing too much, as the water would be distributed to the now old and "vulnerable" West Flood Canal. For the moment, Ahok said, he would ask all his mayors and district heads to keep rivers and sewers clean and keep mobile water pumps on standby.

Meteorology, Climatology and Geophysics Agency (BMKG) spokesperson Harry Tirto said that Jakarta was currently undergoing a transition from rainy season to dry season and that occasional heavy rain was normal. He said that the BMKG predicted the transition would occur until April and that similar weather should be expected until the transition was complete.

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