Jakarta, Java

It's Our Jakarta

Jakartans were on high alert since Friday, February 2, 2007. Exactly 5 years after the huge flood in 2002 and the mass disaster was even worse now. Flood affected 70% of the mega city territory, claimed around 54 people's lives, and left 200,000 people homeless. In some areas the water climbed up to 5 meters high and pushed people to stay at the roof top.

Heavy traffic jams entrapped people almost every where, including in the main thoroughfare. Inner city toll road became damned hell of a road. Motorists were stuck for 3.5 hours to get to the office and 4 to 5 hours to get back home.

Electricity was down and no clean water was available, since the machines were submerged and it’s dangerous to be re-activated. Some people who used genset in their homes for the first time died or in critical conditions due to CO intoxication. They put the genset inside instead of outside the house. People sufferings were enormous. What’s wrong with Jakarta, and its people?

Well, nothing’s wrong with Jakarta. It might be something wrong with its people. Nature doesn’t recognize whether things are right or wrong. It allows people to take, utilize or manipulate everything in and on it, whenever they want, at their speed. Nature, however, gives back what people have done to it, based on its governing laws, the natural laws.

As with other misfortunes and disasters, this time people were also quick to blame the city administration and the central government for failing to protect its citizen. The quality of the government, however, reflects the quality of its citizen as well.

In fact it's our Jakarta. We shall then take responsibilities, and that everybody shall do their parts to make Jakarta a better place to live. Unfortunately, there were only quite a few of them who really care.

Take East Jakarta Flood Canal Project (Banjir Kanal Timur, BKT) as an example. The crucial project that supposed to start functioning in 2007 could only build 7 kilometers out of total 23.5, due to difficulties in acquiring land from the owners, regardless the fact that the government has offered to buy the land at market price.

In the dark ages, they would receive not even half of it, and would likely be forced out by the police and military forces already. Seemingly there were lack of sense of urgencies, lack of gratitude, and lack of willingness to sacrifice some of our belongings for the greater good.

Another example can be found in our neighborhood. Most, if not all, of houses violated the requirements to have open spaces in front and at the back of the buildings as water entrapments. The trees that supposed to be planted on the street in front of houses were also gone, replaced by asphalt for parking.

The water irrigation in front of houses were also covered with concrete for cars to have better access to houses, and that makes almost impossible for people to clean up the drainage.

Having said that, why don’t we start fixing our neighborhood, sacrificing some of our belongings, while keep on pressing the city administration and the central government to be real fast and more decisive and firm in dealing with challenges for a free-flood city of Jakarta?

Jakarta’s flood is of course a very complex financial, political, social and cultural problem. It can’t be solved solely by Jakarta’s governor and its people since the surrounding cities, Bogor in particular, contributed significantly to the magnitude of the disaster. In this context, the concept of Mega City, where Jakarta, Bogor, Depok, Tangerang and Bekasi are put under one administration is worth to be considered and explored further.

Meanwhile, let's help our fellow Jakartans to get sufficient food, clean water, blanket, shelter, medication and other necessities to lessen their pains and sufferings.

The street in front of Satria Mandala Museum & Telkom was blocked. Drivers made u-turn to exit through the toll entrance due to massive traffic jam towards Cawang interchange.

Motorcycles were allowed to enter toll road.

Cars and motorcycles turned back against the normal route and queued to enter toll road

Traffic towards Semanggi was fine initially. However, all lanes were fully packed and became another nightmares after 6 pm.

There were almost no traffic on Monday and Tuesday afternoon since most offices and schools were still closed down. Those who went to office have left for home right after lunch. Pictures were taken from 22nd floor.

, seorang pejalan musiman dan penyuka sejarah. Penduduk Jakarta yang sedang tinggal di Cikarang Utara. Diperbarui: February 03, 2007.

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