Thousands leave their homes following floods in Jakarta

Publié: 22 janvier 2013 15:44 CET

By Ahmad Husein, Senior development and communication manager, IFRC Indonesia

The Indonesian Red Cross Society is assisting in the clean up after flood waters inundated parts of Jakarta, leaving 11 people dead, and the city’s transport network disrupted. Khairul Saleh, who works at the organization’s headquarters in Jakarta said his village of Rawa Buaya, Cengkareng was cut off by flood water, and dozens of people were evacuated to higher ground. Volunteers in the area also established shelters and set up a field kitchen to ensure everyone was fed.

In the wake of the floods, 230 Indonesian Red Cross staff and volunteers quickly responded to the flood hit Jakarta after two days torrential rain poured the capital city and outlying areas including Bogor, Bekasi and Tangerang. Thousands of people on the way to work were forced back home.

One of crucial parts in evacuation process is to make sure everybody was safely transferred to shelters. Many people living along the river bank of Ciliwung, were reluctant to leave their homes. Some left only when the water level reached dangerous levels and the situation became more serious, and the assistance of a search and rescue team was the only way out.

The Indonesian Red Cross Society sent out five water rescue teams in partnership with local authorities to search and save trapped residents in affected areas. Eventually, they rescued 100 residents in five villages around east and south Jakarta.

“We continue our searching by boat to ensure nobody left in flooded areas,” said Budi Pranoto, a field coordinator at East Jakarta chapter.

The organization has provided almost 25,000 meal packages per day for the 20,000 survivors currently living in tents and shelters.

Puji is staying at a shelter in a primary school in Kebon Baru, Tebet South Jakarta with her child. She said she felt lucky as Red Cross and local government erected tents to survivors and give them meals and clean water.

Though she is concerned for her parents insisted on staying at their house.  “I hope Red Cross can bring them here,” she said.

Recently the organization has undertaken promotional work to ensure that people in areas at risk of flood understand the most effective ways of keeping themselves and their families safe.

Nur Hasanah, 50, ilives in Kebon Baru, Tebet South Jakarta, a village which experienced a three metre flood. She chose to leave the house with her two children as soon as it became clear that floods were on the way. “Thank God all of us are safe,” she said.

Nur has been part of the Red Cross community-based action team for the past three year and has been involved in emergency planning in preparation for a flood or other disaster. She advised villagers on safe evacuation and is currently working in a field kitchen.

“It is always good to help people. And I’m good in cooking,” she said.

While the flood water is beginning to recede, the Indonesian Red Cross Society is urging everyone to stay on alert for more extreme weather predicted over the next few weeks.