Heavy rainfall and poor drainage systems have caused flooding across several areas in Bekasi, West Java, and Kudus, Central Java.
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Prior to this, floods hit another area, such as 55 neighborhood units (RT) and eight roads in Jakarta, which were inundated after heavy rainfall from Thursday to Friday (23-24/2/2023) afternoon. The rain had been predicted by the Meteorological, Climatological and Geophysical Agency (BMKG) (Kompas, 25/2/2023).
On 3 Mar., the BMKG also warned of heavy rainfall in Riau Islands, Banten, West Java, Central Java, West Kalimantan, Central Kalimantan, East Kalimantan, South Sulawesi and Papua Highlands.
Technological advances have allowed us to make more accurate forecasts of rainfall. Science has also shown that extreme weather triggering heavy rainfall has been occurring more frequently due to climate change and global warming.
However, science also teaches us how to overcome these hydrometeorological disasters, such as floods and landslides due to heavy rains. This includes improving drainage systems, normalizing rivers, improving the environment in the upstream areas of rivers and encouraging more environmentally friendly lifestyles. The problem lies in the consistency of these mitigation efforts. Hence, the floods that hit Bekasi were due to the overflowing tributaries of Citarum River.
Kompas data journalism reports show that the Citarum River watershed (DAS) is the most dangerous watershed in the country. Though it is designated as a recovery priority watershed, spatial planning violations, which contribute to the occurrence of hydrometeorological disasters, continue to occur along the Citarum watershed. Over the past 20 years, 28,031 hectares of newly developed land have been found along the Citarum watershed (Kompas, 24/2/2023).
This consistency is also an issue at the global level. Several countries’ efforts to overcome global warming have been non-optimal. According to the World Meteorological Organization’s report on Thursday (12/1/2023), the global average temperature in 2022 was 1.15 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial times (1850-1900). Climate change and global warming must be addressed together in a comprehensive and sustainable manner. This might be why the issue seems less attractive to politicians who are too busy trying to win the next elections.
Inevitably, if climate change and its impacts keep getting sidelined, it is because there are not enough statesmen who think of the future generations. We live on the same earth, however. The impact of floods such as in Bekasi and Kudus will not only be felt by those local communities. If it is not taken seriously, similar disasters will continue to occur more frequently, eventually threatening our lives together on Earth without exception.