Indonesian flood

Indonesian floods and the class divide


Monsoon rains that began December 31 have brought catastrophic flooding and landslides to Jakarta, West Java, and Banten in Indonesia, with more rain expected in the coming weeks. Over 35,000 people have been displaced and more than 1,300 homes damaged. At the time of this writing at least 66 people have been confirmed dead.

One of the most telling things photographs have captured is how Indonesia’s tremendous income inequality often determines who is impacted by the worst of the flooding. With luxury developments built several feet above street level, those with the fewest resources are most dramatically affected. Between climate change and overuse of groundwater, it’s estimated that 95% of North Jakarta could fall below sea by 2050.

Foundation Beyond Belief recommends supporting emergency relief efforts being coordinated by ActionAid USA. Although Indonesia is a deeply religious country where people of certain faiths (or those who admit to atheism) have been persecuted, ActionAid promotes tolerance, stating that it "appreciates and respects different opinions, attitudes and behaviors; on the basis of religion, ideology, ethnicity, race, and gender; as well as upholding the joint decisions."

The focus of their efforts will be the city of Lebak, located southwest of Jakarta. Because of its distance from Jakarta and the absence of roads linking the two, Lebak is difficult to access and receives less attention by aid organizations.

ActionAid will be focused on four key priorities: providing emergency food for 2-3 weeks through community kitchens; monitoring the quality of aid being provided by other agencies and the local government; ensuring accountability; and coordinating information sharing regarding available services within the community.

(Note: While ActionAid typically uses the ActionAid Women Led Processes approach when responding to disasters, they recognize that the conservative, highly patriarchal culture in Lebak will present challenges. Recognizing these limitations, ActionAid is currently in discussions with a corporate agency interested in supporting the needs of women and children.)