Torrential rains in a few days last week caused the worst flooding in years in Jakarta. It was estimated from 40 to 70 percent of the Indonesia's capital was underwater. The number of people killed of this flooding has reached at least 34 from drowning, electrocution or disease. More than 300,000 residents have been forced from their homes. Heavy rains are still forecasted to come in a few weeks and authorities are still asking the residents to keep alert. The disaster is far from over.
The flooding is not a new problem for Jakarta. For years, Jakarta has been experiencing flooding. The flooding inundated much of the capital areas and paralyzed traffic and economic activities in Jakarta. How far have the authorities learned from previous floodings to anticipate this year's flooding?
Let me cite what Governor Sutiyoso and Minister Rachmat Witoelar blamed, as reported by the Jakarta Post:
Jakarta Governor Sutiyoso placed the blame on villas in Puncak, West Java, while State Minister for the Environment Rachmat Witoelar insisted the floods were caused by excessive development in the city's water catchment areas. Rachmat said that local authorities had been overzealous in issuing building permits for Jakarta's designated water catchment zones. "Many ignore the (city) spatial plan, especially the authorities that hand out permits, even though they clearly violate environmental impact analyses," Rachmat said.I would argue that both arguments are incomplete. There is no single cause of the disaster. I would also add other causes including poor drainage system and lack of flood control facilities. Beyond these causes, the bottom line we can learn from the annual and growing worse flooding in Jakarta is that Jakarta was not able to sustain its growth. In urban planning we know growth management or smart growth. Jakarta needs more than the two. Jakarta needs growth relocation.
Not only is Jakarta capital of Indonesia but also is the center of nearly all activities in Indonesia. It creates highly concentrated of Indonesian population in only small portion of the nation. Jakarta is the main part of the Indonesia's growth machine. The flooding in Jakarta paralyzed not only Jakarta's traffic but also Indonesia's growth machine.
Further stories and evidences about why we need to relocate Indonesia's capital are forthcoming ...