Jakarta (ANTARA News) - President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono called on all elements to remain alert against floods because rainfall was expected to be still high in the coming several weeks.

The president made the remarks after holding a meeting on floods and observed the flood command post in Bidara Cina, East Jakarta, on Sunday.

"It is not yet safe now. The Meteorology, Climatology and Geophysics Agency (BMKG) said high rainfall will still continue until March," the president said.

He said that Natural Disaster Mitigation Agency (BNPB), military/police personnel, all forces should continue to be on guard and work so that the people would be able to reduce the impact of floods.

The president said that the flooding in Jakarta needed comprehensive handling and should involve cooperation between the central and regional governments.

On the occasion, the president also decided to earmark Rp2 trillion for disaster handling in 2013.

The budget would be used to finance a package of disaster handling which comprised sucking the Ciliwung river water to be channeled to the Eastern Flood Canal to reduce the volume of water flow into the Western Flood Canal.

This project would cost a total fund of Rp500 billion which would be borne by the central government.

"I have coordinated with the leadership of Commission V of the House of Representative (DPR), the finance minister and the minister of public works to assure that the budget would be made available," the president said.

Yudhoyono expressed hope that the budget would be made available in 2013 and projects could be started soon and in mid 2014 they would already be completed.

The project is the revitalization of the Ciliwung river worth Rp1.2 trillion. The project will be co-financed by the central and regional governments, using the 2013 and 2014 budget.

Besides, the president said, flood handling facilities such as pumps and mobile public bathing, washing and toilet facilities (MCK) would also be increased. It will need a total of 50 MCK cars. The total funds for the flood handling facilities would amount to Rp300 billion.

Editor: Jafar M Sidik
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