New governor of Jakarta is making efforts to prevent the floods

08 November, 2012 | Source: The Jakarta Globe

As the city enters the rainy season, Jakarta Governor Joko Widodo on Tuesday inspected preparations for the annual flooding that plagues parts of the capital, and said he wanted to see more actions than promises.



The city administration staged a flood mitigation simulation at the National Monument Park on Tuesday, involving the Disaster Response Team (Tagana), the Emergency Response Team of the Public Order Agency (Satpol PP), the Jakarta Public Works Office, state-owned electricity company PLN and city-owned piped water provider PDAM.

Joko randomly quizzed participating officers and concluded that the city’s mitigation efforts were 90 percent ready.

When asked what he would do in the event of a serious flood, a PLN officer said he would cut off power to the affected area to prevent electrocution and send power generators to areas where power was out.

“What about the PDAM?” asked Joko.

“We will immediately provide clean water, sir. We’ll be at the location in 30 minutes,” one PDAM officer replied.

“Half an hour? I’m writing this down. I will check whether this is true. I’m taking notes so make sure you keep your promises,” the governor said.

Not everyone made the grade. Joko expressed his disappointment with the public works agency, which said they were only responsible for receiving complaints and passing them along to other agencies.

“I don’t want to hear about receiving reports and disseminating information anymore. Start those water pumps,” he said.

The governor said it was important for every agency to know what their roles were in flood mitigation. “I don’t want to hear complaints [from the public]. Monitor the movement of the floods so we know which way it is going and deal with it,” he said.

Joko also inspected flood-prone areas like Bukit Duri in South Jakarta, and Kampung Melayu, East Jakarta, on Tuesday to monitor preparations being made there.

In Bukit Duri, officials have set up evacuation routes marked by green indicators as well as shelters equipped with food and medical supplies, a soup kitchen and makeshift health posts.

“Hopefully there won’t be any flooding, but if there is, I want to ensure that we are prepared and so far the preparation in Bukit Duri has been good,” Joko said.

The charismatic governor, who received a rock star welcome in Bukit Duri as residents scuffled to shake his hand, said his administration was preparing long-term plans to prevent flooding, including relocating houses that had crimped Jakarta’s main waterway, the Ciliwung River.

“We will hold a dialogue with the community. Exactly what the solution will be is subject to further discussion,” he said.

But some residents were just glad to see the governor willing to visit the crowded and impoverished neighborhood.

“Previous governors never set foot here,” said Bukit Duri resident Asih.

 

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