City officials have emphasized that they will accelerate the construction of infiltration wells to prevent another major flood from crippling the city just as the daily torrential downpour in areas surrounding the capital, such as Bogor and Depok have begun to take its toll on residents.
Among the flooded areas on Friday morning were Kampung Pulo in Kampung Melayu, and the areas of Bidara Cina, Cipinang Melayu and Kampung Makasar.
In South Jakarta, the flooded areas included Rajawati.
In Kampung Pulo, water levels ranged between 30 and 150 centimeters, according to officials.
“The houses that were flooded are located 15 meters away from the river,” Jatinegara deputy subdistrict chief Manson Sinaga said.
He added that despite the floods, no residents from Kampung Pulo and Bidara Cina were evacuated from the area.
“So far things are still under control,” he said.
In Kampung Makasar, water started inundating residents’ homes at around 9 p.m. on Thursday.
“The water level reached 1.5 meters,” local neighborhood unit chief Sukirin said on Friday.
He said the floods were caused by the Cipinang River bursting its banks.
Floods have crippled the city in previous rainy seasons. As recently as January this year, several business districts and the State Palace were affected by heavy flooding after heavy rains.
A total of 32 people were estimated to have died because of the flooding, while 40,000 were displaced and more than 100,000 homes were submerged in water according to the National Disaster Mitigation Agency (BNPB).
In 2007, heavy flooding killed 57 people and displaced more than 420,000 in Jakarta, with authorities estimating the total damage that year amounting to nearly $695 million.
The BNPB said in November it had found 34 flood points across East and West Jakarta.
In a report by Detik.com, workers tasked with digging infiltration wells said they faced difficulties in the construction, especially in areas located near sidewalks, where various utility cables were located, including electricity and gas lines and other pipes.
Edi, a road worker, said he and his co-workers were working as fast as possible to complete the project.
“We are working on a difficult area, and we hope to be finished by the end of December,” Edi said.
In the infiltration wells being dug along Jl. Rasuna Said in South Jakarta, ongoing roadworks for the installation of fiber-optic cables have also hampered constructions.
“This will be done in approximately a week; the work for the fiber-optic is almost done,” Ratno, another worker, said.
Like Edi, Ratno said the work — digging a well 60 meters deep — had been difficult in his assigned area because of the large number of cables underground.
According to the report, however, the construction of infiltration wells has been completed in several other areas, such as the Tugu Tani area in Central Jakarta and the Taman Mini area in East Jakarta.
Jakarta Energy and Mineral Resources chief Andi Baso said there are a total of 1,949 infiltration wells in 200 locations, and that 70 percent of the work has been completed.
“Work is still being done in the difficult areas. Whatever we manage to dig, that will still be useful to minimize standing water,” Andi said.
He added that the 1,949 locations of the wells had been initially mapped by the Energy and Mineral Resources office as well as the Jakarta Public Works office.
Not done yet
Jakarta Deputy Governor Basuki Tjahaja Purnama earlier in November conceded he was nervous as the city had only completed less than 20 percent of its flood mitigation plans.
He said the government was working in stages to achieve its programs aimed at reducing the devastating floods that have hit the city every year.
Some 4,000 infiltration wells are to be dug around the city by next year, which Basuki said may not directly eliminate flooding but could help reduce standing water during the rainy season.