Jakarta vulnerable to climate change, report says

Five of the 530 urban areas in South East Asia most vulnerable to climate change are in Jakarta, according to the results of the International Development Research Center’s (IDRC) Economy and Environment Program for Southeast Asia (EEPSEA).

The results said that climate change will have the strongest impact on the livelihoods of those in urban areas with middle to lower incomes.

According to Jakarta Governor Fauzi Bowo, the city will have to find ways to deal with severe floods caused by climate change, along with the food insecurity that may arise as a result of these floods.

Fauzi noted as an example the Jakarta flood of February 2007, considered the city’s worst flood in centuries, which paralyzed the city for several days and caused an estimated US$695 million in damages.

“When floods like those occur, the victims who suffer the most will be middle to lower income residents,” Fauzi said on Wednesday, as quoted by kompas.com.

This is why Fauzi said that flood risk management had to prioritize those particular residents.

Some of the anti-flood measures that Fauzi plans to take include cleaning up the city’s 13 litter-infested rivers and building several flood canals.

“Some of these plans are already running. Just ask residents. They used to be constant flood victims. Not anymore. That means these programs are working,” Fauzi said.

Fauzi had previously urged Jakartans to stop littering as it exacerbated the city’s continuous flooding problems.

Jakarta is known for its severe flooding during the rainy season, with waters reaching as high as one meter in many places of the capital.

Deforestation, poor waste handling and poor drainage systems have been blamed for such flooding.

The National Disaster Management Agency (BNPB) says that 13 rivers and two flood canals running throughout the city only have the capacity to drain between 17 and 80 percent of rainwater.

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