A flood has disastrous consequences. When it hits a megacity like Jakarta and its surrounding towns in Indonesia, the number of people affected is huge. The flood during this New Year affected more than 400,000 people. This climate emergency proves that governments and rescue organisations should massively invest in climate adaptation projects or the consequences for the most vulnerable will get worse.
The floods of 30 December 2019 affected 409,000 people and disrupted community activities at offices, markets, shops and health facilities. For safety reasons, electricity had to be cut off by the National Electricity Company in most of the flooded areas since most of the casualties were caused by electrical shock. Material losses were also considered high in Jakarta and its surrounding areas.
Biggest flood so far
"I underwent flood several times. But the recent January 2020 flood was the biggest I have ever experienced", says 49 years-old Martini who has been living in in Jati Asih, Pondok Gede (a part of the town of Bekasi) since 1995. The flood water rose up to the second floor of her house. Martini's husband, her mom and child were okay, but needed to be rescued.
Government response delayed but local rescuers acted fast
As many parts of Jakarta were under water, government aid and information took some time to reach everybody. Martini sent a WhatsApp message to Mrs. Ira Manullang, the director executive of PELKESI. Manullang responded immediately. PELKESI deployed a medical team to provide health services for the flood-affected community in Jati Asih. Martini passed this information to the community leader.
"We are close to the people in the communities, continuously monitor the situation and immediately assess the needs during and after natural disasters", says PELKESI's director executive. "This flood was dramatic indeed, with many areas underwater and landslides exacerbating an already complicated situation", she explains. "Climate change is visible here. The government and local rescue actors must invest in climate adaptation projects. There is no time to waste. Unless we act fast the most vulnerable will face life-threatening consequences every monsoon season. Together with ACT Alliance we are strongly advocating for climate justice and supporting disaster risk reduction awareness in every community. But it's not enough: governments need to agree on financing climate adaption and supporting the most vulnerable area while we work together to reduce emissions", Ira Manullang concludes.
ACT Alliance is a coalition of 156 churches and faith-based organisations working together in over 125 countries in order to achieve sustainable change in the lives of people affected by poverty and injustice through coordinated humanitarian, development and advocacy work. The global ACT Alliance secretariat is based in Geneva (Switzerland). Besides the Bangkok office which is responsible for activities in the Asia Pacific region, ACT has secretariats in Jordan, El Salvador, Kenya, the United States and Canada as well as an advocacy office to the EU in Brussels. ACT Alliance cooperates with several U.N. agencies and interfaith networks. It is financed mainly by contributions of its member organizations.
Source: ACT Alliance