Watch Out For Wild Weather in Indonesia This Week

Indonesians should watch out for wild weather this week.
The nation's climate agency has warned of
big waves along the coast, high winds and storms.

Still two months away from the annual rainy season, Greater Jakarta could be hit by floods in the coming days due to expected heavy rains. The National Meteorology, Climatology and Geophysics Agency (BMKG) is forecasting heavy downpours this week and next, especially in the southern part of the area, from where past floods in Jakarta have originated. “These rains are occasionally accompanied by lightning and strong winds like what has happened these past few days,” said Hary Tirto Djatmiko, head of meteorology information at the agency. He said the current weather patterns were seasonal for this time of year as Greater Jakarta transitions into the wet season. Djatmiko, however, declined to predict the extent of flooding in the capital over the coming days, saying the BMKG was only authorized to give information about rainfall. Jakarta has been plagued with annual floods, including disasters in 1996, 2002 and 2007, but the city administration is still in the planning phase of how to cope with a problem that cost it Rp 8.8 trillion ($932.8 million) in economic losses two years ago. In February 2007, almost 60 percent of the city was covered by floodwaters up to 7 meters deep in some areas, killing 52 people and displacing 450,000 others. The city administration and the World Bank have signed a loan agreement to help dredge the city’s rivers, canals and waterways for the first time since the 1970s. The rivers are so clogged by garbage and debris that they are only about 50 percent effective in diverting rainwater into the Java Sea. The dredging, however, has yet to begin because the city and World Bank are still discussing how to relocate thousands of illegal squatters living along the river banks. “We are moving slowly,” conceded Hong Joo-hahm, lead infrastructure specialist at the World Bank in Jakarta. “I understand about the coming of rainy season, but we are still discussing about the process of squatter relocations.” He said discussions needed to be wrapped up by the end of the month, so the city could prepare for the coming rainy season. “We would like to start the dredging process in December, at the latest,” Hahm said.

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