Death Toll from Jakarta Floods Rises to 15, Victims Report Illnesses
Lenny Tristia Tambun & Dessy Sagita
The death toll after three days of flooding in Jakarta reached 15 as of Friday afternoon, displacing 18,000 people from their homes and rendering 8,000 residents ill, officials said.
The agency known as BNPB said the flooding that has taken place since Tuesday deluged a total of 41 square kilometers of land, approximately 8 percent of Jakarta’s total area.
It affected a total of 74 urban wards in 31 subdistricts in Jakarta’s five municipalities, inundating more than 97,000 houses as well as some of Jakarta’s main roadways.
BNPB spokesman Sutopo Purwo said the current figures were smaller than those recorded in 2007, when floods submerged 231 square kilometers of the capital, killing 80 people and displacing 320,000 others.
“But the current data is only [after three days of flooding]; it may continue to flood until mid February,” Sutopo told journalists in Jakarta.
He added that the BNPB was still calculating the financial losses that have resulted from the floods.
Flood victims displaced from their homes, meanwhile, have complained about poor shelter conditions, as well as a lack of clean water and blankets.
“I haven’t changed my clothing and haven’t taken a bath since Wednesday evening because there is only a limited amount of clean water and the queue is very long,” Nurhayati, one of the victims staying under a bridge in Kampung Melayu in East Jakarta, said on Friday.
She added that many children were suffering from diarrhea and were in need of medicine.
Jakarta Health Agency Chief Dien Emawati stated that a total of 8,000 flood victims have complained about illnesses, mainly coughs and colds, fatigue and skin rashes.
The Health Ministry’s director general for disease control, Tjandra Yoga Aditama, meanwhile, warned that flood victims might also be more vulnerable to dengue fever and leptospirosis.
He added that the ministry had built makeshift hospitals in four flood-affected areas, including in Bukit Duri in South Jakarta and Kapuk in West Jakarta, and had also channeled 10 tons of infant food to a number of shelters.