Jakarta Flood Losses Almost $1bn

JAKARTA ~ Devastating floods in Jakarta last month caused nearly US$1 billion worth of damage and losses, reports said, citing revised government estimates.

National Development Planning Minister Paskah Suzetta said direct losses from infrastructure damage and state revenue were at least Rp5.2 trillion (US$572 million), higher than his earlier estimate of Rp4.1 trillion.

Potential economic losses were estimated at another Rp3.6 trillion, he was quoted as saying.

The floods, which hit on February 2, covered much of the city and forced hundreds of thousands of people to flee their homes. Some 85 people were killed in the sprawling city and surrounding districts.

Businesses and private individuals bore the brunt of the flood damage, accounting for Rp4.5 trillion of the estimated Rp5.2 trillion, while the government and related institutions and enterprises suffered about Rp650 billion in losses and damage.

Suzetta said the figures did not yet include damage to social and public facilities such as schools, clinics and hospitals.

“The flood has the potential to lower Jakarta’s GDP growth by 0.59 percent in the industry and trade sector” and also hit growth in surrounding towns, he said.

Environment Minister Rachmat Witoelar has blamed the floods on excessive construction on natural drainage areas, while city governor Sutiyoso has dismissed them as a “cyclical natural phenomenon.”

Vice President Yusuf Kalla earlier told the AFP newswire that Sutiyoso and other officials should take responsibility for the devastation because of overbuilding that had not been accompanied by improved drainage.

Old Batavia, the former colonial port under Dutch rule from where Jakarta has expanded, was built on marshland and some areas of the capital are below sea level.

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