Jakarta's squatters agree to be relocated

JAKARTA - The Jakarta administration has begun to familiarize the squatters along the Ciliwung River with the city's river normalization programme, including their relocation.

East Jakarta's Jatinegara district head Sofyan Taher said on Friday that his subordinates, ranging from community unit to subdistrict heads, had started to inform residents about the programme as well as record the number of families that needed to be relocated.

"So far, as many as 500 families in a community unit in Kampung Melayu subdistrict have agreed to be relocated because they are tired of dealing with floods," he said, adding that at least 1,000 families had built houses along the riverbank.

Kampung Melayu is one of the worst flood-prone areas and has recorded flood waters reaching as high as 3 meters.

Governor Joko "Jokowi" Widodo previously reiterated his commitment to relocate the squatters as part of the river normalization programme this year.

"They [squatters] have to move. We will not tolerate people occupying riverbanks anymore," he said during a briefing with his subordinates recently.

The governor aimed to begin the relocation this year.

The law prohibits construction within 15 m of a waterway.

The city administration estimates that around 50,000 squatters live along on the banks of the Ciliwung River. The city is building low-cost apartments to relocate them.

Sofyan said although the date had not been fixed, the city administration planned to relocate residents to low-cost apartments in South Cipinang Besar and Cakung, both in East Jakarta.

The South Jakarta Pancoran district head, Munjirin, said he had also started familiarizing residents with the relocation plan and recording the number of families who lived in flood-prone areas, especially in the Pengadegan and Rawajati subdistricts.

He said, however, that his subordinates had not surveyed the stance of the residents as many issues had to be resolved first.

"Some of the people are not squatters as they have land certificates. We need to talk further about relocation and compensation for these people," he said, adding that he estimated around 500 families needed to be relocated.

"We will finish by the end of February," he added.

Meanwhile, although flood waters in some places have receded, many areas in Greater Jakarta remain at risk of flooding.

The Meterology, Climatology and Geophysics Agency (BMKG) predicts that Greater Jakarta will still experience intense rain over the next three days.

In Tangerang, the Search and Rescue (SAR) team successfully retrieved the body of Lukman Nurohman, 22, a resident of Total Persada housing complex in Periuk, Tangerang, on Friday morning after he was swept away on Wednesday.

Tangerang Disaster Response Team (Tagana) coordinator Ikhsan Bhakti said the body of Lukman was found not far from the bridge he had fallen from.

Lukman is the second victim of the flooding in the complex, after a 60-year-old man drowned in his house.

The housing complex was hit by floods over a week ago and as of Friday it had not yet receded.