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bricolage \bree-koh-LAHZH; brih-\, noun: -a dump site for anything at hand, in mind-

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

jakarta inundated 2 - disaster fatigue

a car submerged in front of a padang food restaurantSurprise.. surprise.. a sequel to the flood that paralyzed Jakarta. It ain't over yet, baby..

The Press is having a Field Day
"Penanganan Korban Banjir Tak Terkoordinasi Baik: Jumlah Pengungsi Mencapai 189.665 Orang" (Poor relief coordination to flood-affected people: 189,665 people displaced) was the headline of Kompas (Indonesia's biggest daily print news paper) on Sunday, February 4, 2007. Around 72 hours after three hours of hard rain with thunder and lightning hit Jakarta.

Back in 2002, media coverage on flood is not as fierce as today. The year 2007 saw a lot of minute-to-minute coverage in almost all affected-areas. However, it would be interesting if you know the exact location of the TV stations versus the actual area that they covered. I hope those giant media won't berate me..

From February 1-4, at the peak of the flood, Metro TV whose headquarter in West Jakarta is pretty much flooded up to the waist, they covered the western part of Jakarta. Trans TV is somewhere in South Jakarta, so they went to nearby areas which is Kuningan Barat, Tendean, Gatot Subroto, etc. RCTI being in West Jakarta and dry are pretty much everywhere, quite similar with SCTV. For those who happened to watch the Indonesian TV from February 2-4, 2007, you'll notice that aerial shots from the police's helicopter are mostly around the eastern part of Jakarta, where you can see a car manufacture compound turned into a giant lake. It's not that I'm complaining about the coverage, but I guess the newsroom decision was pretty tactical.

Relief Items: Needs VS Wants
Most TV reporters asked the flood-affected people about their urgent needs at that moment. In priority order, most people were quick to mention:

  • Ready to eat meals;
  • Shelters;
  • Blankets;
  • Mats;
  • Evacuation;
  • Drinking water;
  • Clean water;
  • Sanitation.

Audio/Video thingy is not my cup of tea, but I can really tell that most interviews are broadcasted as is. In 2002, people were still saying:

  • Food (unclear, what type of food);
  • Clothes (unclear, what type of clothings);
  • Drinking water;

That's the least I can remember as the question of "what do you need" wasn't that popular five years ago. On the other hand, intensive media coverage on consecutive disasters in Indonesia might have contributed to public education on disaster-related issues i.e. needs vs wants, disaster preparedness and management of relief aid distribution.

Check this out, Mister Governor
In 2002, I saw a lot of coverage on "community post", which is a place where the affected-community gathered incoming donations/relief items. The post usually also functions as a bulletin board and a public kitchen. But 2007 were more about the depth and breadth of the inundated area, as well as comparison of what the Jakarta Governor said several days/weeks ago regarding the flood and his recent comment on the flood.

  • 2007, several days/weeks prior to February 1: Sutiyoso (the Governor of Jakarta) said that city-wide flood will not happen in Jakarta;
  • 2007, sometime between February 1-4: Sutiyoso said that the city-wide flood in Jakarta is a natural disaster that happens every five years.

"Disaster Fatigue"
In 2002, there were a lot of relief aid activities coordinated by International NGOs, the UN agencies, political parties and some other good Samaritans. Unfortunately, 2007 was rather quiet. Only several celebrities were giving donations. The rest is basically affected-community's own efforts.

After the disastrous end-of-2004 Tsunami in Banda Aceh with 200,000+ casualties, May 2006 earthquake that shattered Central Java, a sunk ship with around 250+ casualties and an air plane that went missing with its 100+ passengers and crew, I guess the Indonesian public are experiencing a "disaster fatigue". It's my own term for people's withdrawal and reluctance to response quickly to disaster. For sure there are still people who are and respond right away, but IMHO (in my humble opinion), there are less "disaster super hero" this time..

"The number that you are calling.."
The flood of 2002 and 2007 seemed to share the same thing: network failure of even big GSM mobile providers. Around 2.1 million out of around 8 million mobile phone users of Telkomsel, Indonesia's biggest GSM company have either lost their connection or experienced problems in mobile connection from February 1 onwards. Telkomsel later on announced that problems occured due to BTS power failure (60%) and transmission problems (30%).

Meanwhile, Telkom, Indonesia's state telecommunications company lost around 76,000 of landlines after a nearby river decided to pay a visit to one of their main switchboard in the heart of Jakarta. A few days afterwads (on Monday, February 5, 2007), Telkom could only fixed up to 21,000 telephone lines.

I can't see clearly now..
Indonesia's State Power Company (PLN), up to February 6, 2007 was forced to shut down 1,455 power houses that affect around 650,000 customers. In some areas, power is already back up again, but in come "water pockets", I guess they can only bet on candles to see things at night..

Recent Updates
If you'd like to learn more about Jakarta's flood, I'd say "Reliefweb" is the most reliable place. It's a global hub of humanitarian information managed by United Nations' Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (UN-OCHA). They also have a map that will give you a visualization of how expansive the flood is (it's in PDF, so it's supposed to be cross-browser and cross-platform).

In the realm of humanitarian relief, a "situation report" is a document that contains information regarding recent updates on all sectors. Find latest situation reports on Jakarta's flood in "Reliefweb Recent Updates". Find anything with these keywords: OCHA, "situation report", Jakarta, Indonesia.

On Location!
I don't have videos of TV excerpts.. they'd sue me for publishing copyrighted materials. I have a few shots of my neighborhood after the crazy rain last week below:

Jeruk Purut Area. To the left is basically an overflown creek and to the right that I missed is an upmarket housing area.

An entrance to the area where I live in Kemang, South Jakarta.
This part of road is usually flooded, but the worst is this year as it lasts for more than 2 days. This area is usually very hectic throughout the day, but due to flood it's been dead for almost a week now.

Kemang Raya (Kemang's main road), just a few minutes walk from the house where I rent a room.

Every year inundated, "Tendean Street" in South Jakarta

Wild river of "Tendean Street".

It's not James Bond's cool car that swims. I overheard someone standing beside me saying that last night they couldn't see the car.

Posting Disclaimer:
All statistics/numbers appeared in this postings are taken from TV news broadcast from February 1-5, 2007. This posting has nothing to do with content of those TV news broadcast nor endorsing any brands. For further updates, check each TV's web site/broadcast.

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Anonymous yifahn said...

Thank you for the coverage.
Good luck Jakarta!!

-greeting from Shanghai

Fri Feb 23, 01:41:00 PM 2007


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