I traveled to Jakarta recently, one week after major flooding devastated many parts of the city, leaving at least four people dead and hundreds homeless. It’s the rainy season here.
I learned lots about the city, the main one being that as demand for building land grows, the local authorities authorise the draining of land to create new space on which to build. This is having a catastrophic effect. The ground is sinking, so when heavy rain comes it floods the city.
Many families are so poor they live in shacks wherever they can find a space. Many live in cemeteries – in one room corrugated ‘buildings’. The floods came and literally took everything they had. Piles of debris had been bulldozed to the sides of the road awaiting removal. Mattresses, chairs, pots, pans, clothes – all stacked high alongside busy main roads.
Mopeds/motorcycles are the main form of transport, competing for road space with cars and trucks. There do not seem to be any written rules of the road. There may be three lanes painted on the road surface but there are five lanes of traffic, and mopeds dash in and out of the lines. How anyone isn’t hurt is beyond me. I just had to close my eyes and let the taxi driver do what he was paid to do – drive!
So here is a selection of photos from my trip. Please click on them to see a larger image.
- Floods paralyze Indonesian capital; at least 4 die (newsinfo.inquirer.net)
- Jakarta floods as monsoon soaks Indonesia (guardian.co.uk)