Indonesia: Expert blames unchecked construction, poor drainage system for floods

The Jakarta Post 17 Nov 16;

Poor drainage systems and reduced water catchment areas due to excessive building activity are the main causes of flooding currently affecting several regions of Indonesia, an expert has said.

Yayat Supriyatna, an urban planner from Trisakti University in Jakarta, said apart from high-intensity rainfall, urban development in many cities of the country was not accompanied by adequate water management measures.

“Uncontrollable urban development, which does not pay serious attention to an area’s water management system, has damaged water flows and catchment areas. This has also damaged the drainage systems,” he said Thursday.

Yayat said the authorities in charge should take necessary measures to prevent natural disasters by, among others things, creating artificial water catchment areas.

“In the past, near Pagarsih in Bandung, West Java, there was Lake Aksan, which served to contain water. It’s gone now, and we’ve seen the consequence.”

Bandung is one of the cities currently hit by severe flooding. On Oct. 25, a rescue team spent nearly six hours to pull out a car from under a bridge in Pagarsih after it had been swept away by floodwater the previous day.

In the province of Riau, floods and landslides hit several areas following days of heavy rain.

Meteorology, Climatology and Geophysics Agency (BMKG) spokesperson Harry Tirto predicted that the intensity of rain would continue to increase until March next year.

“We will enter a transition phase from the wet to the dry season in April or May next year. For the time being, we will see the peak of the rainy season in December to March.” (fac/ebf)


Floods, landslides cut off road access
Jon Afrizal The Jakarta Post 17 Nov 16;

Heavy downpours across the country have continued to cause flooding and landslides.

In Jambi, heavy rains in Rantau Pandan district, Bungo regency, on Tuesday night caused a landslide, cutting off a main road connecting the subdistricts of Rantau Duku, Luluk Mayam and Rantau Pandan.

Soil, big rocks and fallen trees covered the road, preventing people from commuting between the neighboring districts of Rantau Pandan and Bathin III Ulu.

Commuters were forced to wait for hours until a fire agency cleared some of the debris to create temporary access.

“The clearance was just a temporary solution, at least the trapped people could pass through,”
Arpan Tuyani, head of the Bungo Fire Agency, which cleared the debris on Tuesday night, said on Wednesday.

He added that the agency did not have the necessary heavy equipment to clear all the debris.

In West Java, 1,231 customers of state-owned electricity company PLN experienced blackouts due to floods in Karawang and Bekasi.

PLN West Java distribution spokesperson Suargina said nine power stations in Karawang and another one in Bekasi had to be switched off.

Suargina said the power stations were located in submerged areas.

“It was impossible to operate them, as doing so could lead to short circuits,” he said.

“The 10 power stations have been switched off for a week,” he added, as quoted by Antara.

He added that power stations in industrial areas were not affected by floods.

Separately, Bandung Mayor Ridwan Kamil met with House of Representatives Speaker Ade Komarudin on Tuesday afternoon to discuss the situation in Bandung, which has been experiencing severe flooding on account of extreme weather.

“I reported the situation in Bandung city that requires inter-region coordination with regard to the extreme rainy season, floods and so on,” Ridwan said at the House in Jakarta, on Tuesday, as quoted by kompas.com.

Meanwhile, head of the Bandung Disaster Mitigation Agency (BPBD), Tata Irawan, said 611 families or 2,030 people in the regency had been displaced by the overflowing Citarum River.

They have been staying at evacuation centers for two weeks.

He said the evacuees would need to remain at the evacuation centers for a little longer because the flooding had not eased.

“The floods in Bandung regency are different from the ones in Bandung city. Here, they are massive, fast and deep while in Bandung city water subsides in one to two hours,” he said as quoted by tempo.co, Wednesday.

Tata said the evacuees hailed from three districts, namely Dayeuhkolot, Baleendah and Bojongsoang.

“The evacuation centers are spread in 23 spots in three districts. Some are big, some others are just occupied by two to three families,” he said.

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