FIONNA WIJAYA WRITES – The worst floods since 2013 swept through Jakarta this January. Jakarta, the political and economic capital of Indonesia, houses the most significant industrial sectors in the country, compelling most of the population to migrate there for economic opportunities. These early 2020 floods claimed over sixty lives and brought down buildings. Neighborhoods were submerged and people suddenly became homeless overnight. Now, Jakartans are hoping that the government will improve the city’s ability to adapt to the more frequent floods before the capital is moved in 2024.
Catastrophes like this are nothing new. Jakarta is located close to the North Sea, which makes it prone to flooding whenever the tide is high and there is heavy rain. Due to excessive groundwater and massive migration, people needed to come up with industrial ways of fetching water which in turn led to the seepage of seawater, the growth of algae, and the habitation of small sea creatures onto the streets of Jakarta. Drains and water catchments cannot accommodate large volumes of water. Streams and borders of the river are less functional because some rivers experience siltation, whereby water becomes dirty due to fine mineral particles.
Locals are trying to prevent the tides from causing the floods, to no avail. They in fact built a wall to keep the tidewater from entering the mainland but the water seeped right past the wall. They clearly need help from the government.
What’s surprising is that in some parts of Jakarta people still manage to grow their businesses. Not all are profitable, but residents still try to launch businesses, to survive.
Jakarta was once the promise of Indonesia’s future but at this rate, many predict, there will be no Jakarta by 2050. It is crucial for the government and its people to find a way to protect the mainland from destruction, just as the Netherlands did. Jakarta is a wonderful city with endless potential. Together, the government and its people must figure save their homes, their homeland, themselves—and the generations of tomorrow.