25 Jan 2013

Jakarta flood clean-up begins

9:49 pm on 25 January 2013

A clean-up in Jakarta has begun, as monsoon floods begin to subside in the Indonesian capital.

At least 20 people are confirmed to have died and as many 50,000 are homeless.

But Radio Australia reports more heavy rain is forecast next week. Monsoon conditions will last into February.

Many in the city are pointing their fingers at city and central governments over the maintenance of essential infrastructure and flood defences.

The last major floods in the city in 2007 killed 70 people, forced 350,000 out of their homes and cost $US900 million.

"Both the central government and Jakarta city government have made significant inroads to improve the infrastructure," World Bank senior water and sanitation specialist Fook Cheung Eng told Radio Australia's AsiaPacific service.

"Last year, in 2011, the East Flood Canals canals were completed by the central government - that's a key piece of the Jakarta flood-management master plan.

''The Jakarta city government has been shoring up the sea defences against floods over the years as well and there have been more resources put in to the maintenance of the canals. But it is a very large challenge."

Last year, the World Bank issued an urgent report, which outlined a plan to dredge major floodways and canals in the city.

AsiaPacific reports the Bank also committed nearly $US150 million to a rehabilitation plan to be managed by both central and city governments.

However, dredging the canals and restoring the riverbanks is yet to begin, but Fook Cheung Eng insists progress has been made.

''Governments and project-implementing agencies ... are in the stage of procuring the large dredging and embankments-repairs works," Fook Cheung Eng said.

Radio Australia reports he also said there are issues with doing these works in a city as urbanised and dense as Jakarta and that planning the works will take some time.