Jakarta Underwater


As Jakarta begins to clean up after the most severe floods since 2007, politicians are being held to account for the city’s poor defences against the seasonal barrages of water.

The damage toll has been high. To date, 20 people have been confirmed dead and 50,000 left homeless.

The city’s CBD, an area that’s usually immune to heavy flooding, was submerged under as much as two metres of water in some areas on Thursday. This took place after a decision was made earlier to open floodgates upstream in Jakarta’s eastern subdistricts.

Indonesia’s capital is one of the world’s most densely populated metropolises, with around 12 million inhabitants. Although economically Jakarta is placed to continue its rapid growth as a major centre for global business in Asia, geographically, the city is in trouble. Located in a low lying area south of the Java Sea, Jakarta is extremely prone to flooding in the monsoon season.

Dinghies and rafts became a valuable commodity as entrepreneurial locals transported people across the water. Photo: Dannika Bonser

The Jakarta Capital Region will remain in a state of emergency until 27 January. Photo: Dannika Bonser

Often spending much of the day in a noisy gridlock, Jalan Jenderal Sudirman was eerily peaceful, with even the entire Transjakarta bus fleet grounded. Photo: Dannika Bonser

Photo: Dannika Bonser

Photo: Dannika Bonser

Photo: Dannika Bonser

New Matilda is independent journalism at its finest. The site has been publishing intelligent coverage of Australian and international politics, media and culture since 2004.