Jakarta (ANTARA News) - The construction of the Giant Sea Wall mega project in North Jakarta is expected to prevent tidal flooding, which frequently affects parts of North Jakarta.

Initiated by former Jakarta Governor Fauzi Bowo, the Giant Sea Wall is intended to protect Jakarta against tidal floods and will function as a freshwater reservoir.

The Giant Sea Wall project will cover coastal areas from Tanjung Burung in Teluk Naga District in the Tangerang region to Tanjung Priok in North Jakarta.

Jakarta already has the West Flood Canal (KBB) and the East Flood Canal (KBT), but these have not been sufficient to protect the capital city from the floods.

Therefore, Jakarta Governor Joko Widodo, better known as Jokowi, said here on Thursday that he wanted to accelerate the construction of the giant embankment mega-project.

"The construction of the giant sea wall in North Jakarta was originally planned to start in 2020, but I want it accelerated to begin by 2015," Jokowi remarked.

He noted that the presence of the giant embankment mega-project is very important because it will serve to overcome the tidal floods that frequently hit villages along North Jakartas coast.

"If possible, we should make all the necessary preparations in 2014 and then begin the physical construction the year after that. The faster, the better because the giant dam is part of our efforts to save Jakarta from tidal floods," Jokowi stated.

The governor explained that the construction of the giant sea wall would go through meticulous calculations in terms of its economic, health, and environmental aspects.

"We certainly still have much to calculate and consider, but if we start now, I believe the construction will start sooner," he pointed out.

Jokowi said small artificial islands and a new economic center will also be built around the giant embankment mega project, estimated to cost Rp150 trillion, with the involvement of the private sector.

According to him, the Giant Sea Wall is expected to solve 90 percent of the flooding problems in Jakarta, where land subsidence occurs every year.

However, non-governmental organization Peoples Coalition for Fishery Fairness (Kiara) has rejected the mega project because it is thought to have certain interests beyond the mere reclamation of land.

"We think the reclamation is only being done to protect the properties of the real estate sector, private warehouses and the elite community," said Coordinator of Kiaras Education and Networking Division Selamet Daroyani earlier this year.

He noted that Kiara also assumed that the reclamation would damage the beach and seas ecosystem and would reduce access to the sea for fishermen.

According to Selamet, Kiara also disapproved of the Giant Sea Wall project because of fears it would affect the fishermen, even though it was intended to overcome flooding in Jakarta.

Meanwhile, Jakarta Deputy Governor Basuki Tjahaja Purnama, better known as "Ahok," said here on Friday that the capital city would continue to be hit by floods during the peak of the rainy season in December this year and January next year.

"I predict floods will continue to hit Jakarta when the rainy season reaches its peak in December 2013 and January 2014. The height of the water level of several rivers in Jakarta shows that floods in the capital city will be inevitable," Ahok stated.

According to him, the water levels of the rivers of Krukut and Pesanggrahan have continued to rise, while the other rivers in North Jakarta were also affected by tidal floods.

"Therefore, since yesterday, we have created a map of flood-prone areas in Jakarta. We have also coordinated with the Special Capital Region of Jakartas Social Service Office to prepare logistical assistance for flood victims," he noted.

Ahok said the Social Service Office will build command posts to anticipate floods and will prepare other social assistance services for flood evacuees.

Although all preparations are almost 100 percent ready, the Jakarta deputy governor expressed hope that the flood this time would not be as bad as it has been in previous years.

But the Jakarta provincial administration has established cooperation with the Bicycle Committee of Indonesia (KSI) and the Indonesian Red Cross (PMI) to deal with the flooding.

"Because the rainy season has begun, we are ready to help the Jakarta provincial administration handle the flooding in the capital city," KSI Chairman Syahrul Effendi stated at Jakarta City Hall here on Friday.

According to him, the cooperation was stipulated in a memorandum of understanding (MoU) on volunteers for humanitarian assistance and the handling of floods, which was signed by all three parties on Friday.

Syahrul noted that aid for flood victims could be distributed by bicycle to areas that are otherwise inaccessible by any other means of transportation.

Meanwhile, PMI Chairman Jusuf Kalla said that following the signing of the MoU, he would also cooperate with other institutions to ease the burden on disaster victims.

"Using a bicycle, we can distribute disaster relief assistance to areas that are inaccessible by trucks or cars. Bicycles are an effective means of transportation in emergency situations when disaster strikes," stated Kalla, the former vice president.

In anticipation of possible floods during the ongoing rainy season, Jakarta has conducted clean-up operations along the Ciliwung River, which passes through the capital city.

Governor Jokowi commenced the operation from Mall Seasons City in North Jakarta, involving army personnel, garbage service workers and community members earlier this month.

"It is hoped that this activity will increase public awareness and encourage a desire for cleanliness," Jokowi explained.

The governor also hoped that after the river was cleaned, residents would stop dumping garbage into it so that it could remain clean and no flooding would take place.


Reporter: Otniel Tamindael
Editor: Jafar M Sidik
Copyright © ANTARA 2013