Nur Janti, Jakarta – As Jakarta enters the rainy season this month, the city administration has started preparing for floods by dredging rivers, forming a team of first responders and urging Jakarta residents to clean up trash.
Acting Jakarta governor Heru Budi Hartono said the Jakarta administration would dredge all rivers and reservoirs in the capital, using at least 240 excavators to help clear sediment and debris from riverbeds.
The dredging program started at Kali Adem in North Jakarta on Sunday, with at least 600 residents participating in a mass river clean-up dubbed Bakti Kita Untuk Jakarta (Our Service for Jakarta), Antara reported. The program will continue in other rivers across the capital, such as the Ciliwung River on Monday.
Heru called on residents to do the same in their own neighborhoods, saying that cleaning drains and rivers could prevent floods.
"In facing the rainy season, all Jakarta residents are expected to work together cleaning up their own neighborhoods in the spirit of gotong royong [mutual cooperation]," Heru said on Sunday on the sidelines of the clean-up event in Central Jakarta, as quoted from Antara.
Heru said that all water pumps in the capital were functioning well to flush out water when heavy rains fell.
The Jakarta Disaster Mitigation Agency (BPBD Jakarta) called on people to be vigilant for potential hydrometeorological disasters during the rainy season, such as floods, landslides and strong winds.
The agency recently formed a rapid-response team for floods consisting of 267 personnel. These first responders would be stationed in every subdistrict, agency head Isnawa Adji told The Jakarta Post on Sunday.
The Meteorology, Climatology and Geophysics Agency (BMKG) has forecast that Jakarta will enter the rainy season this month and it will reach its peak in January and February next year.
Even though only light to medium rain will fall in Jakarta in the beginning of the wet season, residents should stay alert about potential heavy rainfall to the south of Jakarta, particularly in Bogor, West Java, according to a BMKG coordinator for early warning Miming Saepudin, as quoted by Tempo.co.
The rainy season has already been under way in some regions outside Jakarta since last month, causing floods in several areas in North Sumatra and Aceh.
According to the National Disaster Mitigation Agency (BNPB), floods hit Deli Serdang regency, North Sumatra on Nov. 14 following heavy downpours. At least 530 houses in 11 villages in Batang Kuis district were inundated, with floodwaters reaching a depth of 60 centimeters.
The agency said at least 2,100 people were affected by the floods.
Heavy rain on Nov. 13 caused flash floods in Samosir regency, also in North Sumatra, forcing 620 residents to flee their homes.
Rescuers recently found the body of a person who was reported missing following the flash flood.
The Samosir Disaster Mitigation Agency (BPBD Samosir) estimated that the disaster damaged 266 hectares of agricultural land.
Meanwhile, Southeast Aceh regency in Aceh was hit by flash floods on Nov. 13. Heavy rain that poured for several hours caused five rivers to overflow, damaging several bridges and inundating at least 63 villages in 15 districts.
Two people were injured and a 2-year-old infant was killed in the flash flood.