Fri, 26 Sep 2003

Floods expected in October, says BMG

Bambang Nurbianto, The Jakarta Post, Jakarta

Meteorological and Geophysical Agency (BMG), warns that floods may hit the city in mid October when heavy rain is expected in upper areas of eastern Jakarta, like Puncak resort, Bogor and Depok.

BMG's deputy for observation affairs Hery Harjanto said although the rainy season is likely to start in earnest in mid November, floods may hit the capital mid next month.

According to him, rainfall in Puncak and Bogor will be heaviest between late November and February next year, while in Depok, the rainy season will start in early November and peak between early December and late January.

In eastern parts of Jakarta, the rainy season will start in earnest in mid November and will peak between early December and late January.

Meanwhile, administration officials reiterated on Thursday that this year's flood prevention projects will not be able to significantly safeguard the 75-flood-prone areas in the city.

Assistant to the city secretary for people's welfare Ahmad Haryadi said that people should anticipate bad floods.

The City Public Works Agency announced on Thursday it had allocated Rp 562 billion (US66.1 million) for various projects, including lake and river dredging and the maintenance of drains.

Other city agencies also claimed to have prepared for the floods.

Wandaningsih Parmono, deputy head of the City Health Agency, said that, like previous years, the agency would cover the medical costs of people who were hospitalized due to flood- related diseases.

Head of the City Mental Development and Social Welfare Agency Syarifuddin Mahfudz said his agency had prepared 210 tons of rice, 4,000 boxes of instant noodles, 3,000 boxes of milk powder and 130 sets of kitchen equipment for public kitchens.

He said it would also provide kerosene lamps, rubber boats, communication equipment, vehicles, and school uniforms for the flood victims

Meanwhile, head of the City Basic Education Agency, Gito Utomo Purnomo said some 440 elementary and junior high schools are located in flood-prone areas.

"The learning activities of thousands of students may be disrupted during the next rainy season," Gito said.

He said the worst floods may occur in northern parts of the city, during which schools there may be closed for two weeks.

According to him, some 370 of the 440 school buildings in the flood-prone areas are elementary schools and 70 others are junior high schools.

"We hope the rainy season is not as bad as it was in early 2002, but, if this is the case, we will move students to other schools," he said.

Gito said he would coordinate with his subordinates in the city's five mayoralties, to plan how to move the students whose schools were flooded.