October 11, 2022
JAKARTA – On the heels of fatal flooding in Greater Jakarta and beyond last week, vast swathes of the archipelago are being asked to prepare for more extreme wet weather in the coming days.
Over the weekend, the Meteorology, Climatology and Geophysics Agency (BMKG) issued more extreme weather warnings for the week ahead, following days of heavy downpours that caused flooding in a number of provinces in the country.
Consistent afternoon rainfall has dealt considerable damage to Greater Jakarta, but authorities have also reported other extreme events in the area, such as a tornado in Depok, West Java, and a 5.5-magnitude earthquake felt briefly in Jakarta but originating southwest of Banten.
Almost all of the country’s provinces are expected to experience medium to heavy rainfall until Oct. 15 at the earliest, along with possible thunderstorms and strong winds, said BMKG head Dwikorita Karnawati on Saturday.
These include all six provinces on the island of Java; nine provinces in Sumatra, including Aceh, North Sumatra and Lampung; all five provinces of Kalimantan; and a total of 12 other provinces, including Bali, East Nusa Tenggara and Papua.
The BMKG also warned of potentially dangerous coastal conditions, including waves ranging in height from 2.5 to 4 meters, until at least Friday.
The strong surf and tidal action is likely to be seen along the western shores of Sumatra, including in Aceh and Lampung, as well as along the southern coast of Java.
High waves are also likely to occur in the western and southern parts of the Sunda strait, which separates Java and Sumatra, as well as the Bali-Lombok strait and the Sumba strait.
The BMKG released an additional statement on Monday signaling more episodes of bad weather in Greater Jakarta. West Jakarta, satellite cities Bogor and Depok in West Java and Tangerang in Banten are likely to see moderate rainfall from Tuesday to Thursday.
The BMKG urged regional administrations to ensure that water drainage systems were fully operational and free of built up waste. It also asked local authorities to prune off weak tree branches and strengthen street poles so that they would not fall in strong winds.
The agency also called for broader disaster mitigation efforts, including public education programs and coordination among stakeholders.
The weather warnings follow a series of heavy downpours over the past week that have caused disasters throughout the country.
In Jakarta, three 13-year-old students died on Thursday after floodwaters surged into a school in South Jakarta, causing two walls to collapse.
The incident has caught national attention, with Coordinating Human Development and Culture Minister Muhadjir Effendy, Religious Affairs Minister Yaqut Cholil Qoumas and Education, Culture, Research and Technology Minister Nadiem Makarim visiting the school over the past few days to pay their respects.
Outgoing Jakarta Governor Anies Baswedan, who is to vacate his post at the end of this week, called on his administration and members of the public to remain vigilant for potential extreme weather in the week ahead.
“Every one of us has to be prepared to face potential landslides and extreme rainfall,” he said at the Bantargebang waste processing facility in Bekasi city, West Java, on Monday, as quoted by Kompas.com.
A week earlier, he had played down the city’s perennial flooding problem, saying that “not even 1 percent” of neighborhood units (RTs) in Jakarta had been flooded.
Outside of Jakarta, some 18,000 people in North Aceh regency had been forced to evacuate their homes as of Thursday due to heavy flooding, according to the National Disaster Mitigation Agency (BNPB).
The BNPB also reported that some 6,775 housing units, approximately 500 hectares of rice fields, four government offices, a health facility and a school building were also submerged in the regency.
In the neighboring East Aceh regency, some 2,436 residents were forced to evacuate due to heavy flooding.
Floods were also reported in Langkat regency in North Sumatra and Sanggau regency in West Kalimantan.
In Central Java, heavy rains in Cilacap regency on Saturday caused land subsidence at several points along a set of long-distance train tracks.
Meanwhile, in Trenggalek regency, East Java, six villages reported heavy flooding and landslides on Friday. Floods, landslides and land subsidence were also reported on Saturday in Wonosobo regency, Central Java.
In Bali, heavy rainfall on Friday caused a number of disasters, including floods, landslides and collapsed roads, causing at least five deaths. Three of the five deaths were the result of two cars being crushed by a landslide in Bangli regency.