Jakarta: The Sinking City 1

The flooding in Jakarta has reached a new level, killing at least 66 people, and forcing hundreds of thousands of people from their homes. Over 35,000 people in Jakarta are staying in government buildings and malls that have been converted into temporary shelters. With the heaviest rains in the decade, experts say that by 2050, North Jakarta will be entirely underwater. These floods are worse than Indonesia’s flood in 2013 when at least 29 people died.

The city’s response to the problem is that the roads must be cleared and to offer low-cost housing for residents. While more rain is expected, Indonesian authorities are using cloud seeding to try to stop the rain and therefore decrease the flooding in Jakarta. Aid agencies such as the Indonesian Red Cross have deployed 455 volunteers and staff to help provide first aid and health services. Indonesia is one of the world’s most populous countries, which means that the citizens are extremely vulnerable to climate change.

Indonesia’s capital is one of the world’s fastest-sinking cities and is prone to flooding because of its swampy grounds. Last August, Indonesia announced that it would move its capital to the island of Borneo because of pollution and overcrowding in Jakarta, but this move would take at least 10 years and incur a cost of $34 billion.

The high level of inequality in Indonesia is partly to blame for the outcomes caused by flooding, since less developed areas where poorer families tend to live were hit by the floods. And since these areas do not have direct access to infrastructure such as roads, this makes them more vulnerable when climate change strikes. However, hotels in the city are at least three feet higher than the street level, which causes floods to flow through those areas. The sad reality of this is that in a climate crisis, the rich are able to help themselves while the less wealthy are often the first victims. The world’s richest one percent owns 45 percent of the world’s wealth, while adults with less than $10,000 in wealth make up 64 percent of the world’s population. If the rich could share and invest their wealth into climate change, we could drastically help the aftermath of climate disasters and help prevent them too.

One thought on “Jakarta: The Sinking City

  • Herbert Klein

    I’m working with Gerkatin who is Deaf Indonesian Organisations need help and support. Most Deaf Indonesian group are using BISINDO. There are no access for communication. Please contact Gerkatin President Bambang.

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