Jakarta slum dwellers help flooded-out neighbours

Floods in the capitals displace tens of thousands of people.

By Zahara Tiba for Khabar Southeast Asia in Jakarta

January 29, 2014
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Residents of Jakarta's Petamburan slum did not hesitate to reach out to neighbours affected by floods caused by heavy wet-season rains that inundated parts of the capital January 18th and 19th.

  • Jakarta residents wade through a flooded neighbourhood Monday (January 20th). [Adek Berry/AFP]

    Jakarta residents wade through a flooded neighbourhood Monday (January 20th). [Adek Berry/AFP]

To help their less-fortunate neighbours, Petamburan dwellers opened a disaster relief post at local mosque Nurul Islam. Over the weekend, dozens of women were busy in its front yard, cooking food for neighbours affected by the floods.

The women prepared care packages of eggs, rice and instant noodles since early morning, volunteer Sri Wahyuni told Khabar Southeast Asia.

"It's something I do every year. Usually, I take care of my family first in the morning before coming to the mosque and joining other women to help prepare foods for the victims, which are our own neighbours," she said.

Once the women finished cooking, they enlisted local teens and men to help distribute the packets of food.

Scale of devastation

Floods in Jakarta's 30 sub-districts forced more than 30,000 people to evacuate their homes, the National Disaster Mitigation Agency (BNPB) announced January 20th. At least five people were reported dead.

Some sub-districts in the satellite cities of Tangerang and Bekasi were inundated as well.

Flooding was bad in Manado, North Sulawesi, where high water levels displaced nearly 15,000 people and killed 16 others, according to AFP.

North Sulawesi Governor Sinyo Harry Sarundajang said January 18th, flood-related damage in his province could reach Rp. 1.89 trillion. ($155.1m), the Jakarta Globe reported.

Thankful for good neighbours

Iwan Setiawan was one of the residents affected by flooding in Petamburan.

"We are thankful to our neighbours for the help. It eased our problems a bit," said Iwan, who opted to stay at home rather than evacuate.

Willye, a neighbourhood leader, told Khabar some neighbours sought shelter at the mosque.

"It is more crowded than regular days, but the prayers still go on even though we turned the mosque into a command post," he said.

Sometimes, those who live at higher elevations assist neighbours from lower-lying areas by letting them stay with them until water levels drop, he added.

"I can say our neighbours are solid enough and ready to help others," Willye said.

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