A Forgotten Urban Portrait: Jakarta and Its Disaster Hazards

The city’s built environment is characterized physically by numerous skyscrapers, concentrated in the central business district, Jakarta is considered wealthy relative to neighboring provinces and other islands. About 40 % of the area is below sea level and over 10 million people who resides in the city has a major risk for the several disaster hazards. The Jakarta’s ground made up of soft soil which amplify tremors causing bigger effect when the earthquake strikes the city. Along with its risk of flooding, tidal flooding as well as fires, Jakarta categorized as one of the riskiest city in the world with its disaster hazards according to World Bank.

The main hazards for Jakarta relate to water management and flood control. Extreme weather cause overloading of the existing drainage system, while sea level rise coupled with land subsidence is making Jakarta increasingly vulnerable to tidal floods due to its coastal location. Instead of its water management and flood control, the density of houses is also being so relative to the hazards that haunting the city which often called Batavia.

The awareness of Jakartans related to the disaster is still quite low. There is no such agreement yet regarding the disaster risk reduction’s activities in the city among its public. The simple sign could be relevant when it turns into a public space as an assembly point to reach safer place, there are still pretty rare to find evacuation routes around the city unless it is in the well-known buildings or main attracted point. Or even the worse when the disaster strikes, people could not handle the situation or risking their life because of panic attack. Overall the facilities to support the city to become ‘ready’ in term of disaster is still infeasible as well as its resilience of the public.

Regrettably, disasters are unavoidable. But with continued investment in disaster risk reduction activities, governments and work together with its people can mitigate the impact of those disasters when they do occur. Where families and neighborhoods are affected, the economy could be stuck in few days and another unwanted gift from the disasters. No one would love to be there, be prepare still sounds better than to be a victim, right?

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