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Ramping up relief operation for flood victims

Jakarta, 25 January 2012 - More than 250,000 people have been affected by the floods caused by days of heavy rains in Jakarta. While some have found sanctuary with friends and relatives, others are living in temporary shelters. In the aftermath of flood emergencies such as this one, children become vulnerable to diseases and many are unable to attend school.

Kampung Melayu, Bukit Duri, is one of the worst affected areas in the city. Houses near the Ciliwung river, were flooded up to 3.5 meters deep. “The rain kept pouring, and the water levels gradually rose to the point where we had to evacuate the family. My house is only one storey, so we had to leave.” said Rachmawati, a community leader in RW 09 (neighborhood), Kampung Melayu. “As the flood got worse, more and more people evacuated to the district office that is now a temporary shelter,” she added. Though water has receded, the floods have wrecked most of the houses in the area.

A small girl walks past large bags of garbage and other debris on a narrow street in the flood-affected Bukit Duri neighbourhood of Central Jakarta. ©UNICEF Indonesia / 2013 / Estey

UNICEF immediately responded to the situation. "UNICEF is ramping up its relief operation for the hundreds and thousands of people affected by the flood,” says UNICEF Representative Angela Kearney. “Many of these are children, who are especially vulnerable to disease. They need clean water, medicine, food and shelter – and they need to go back to school,” she added.

In order to get a first-hand view of the situation, UNICEF and its partners visited Kampung Melayu, Bukit Duri. During the early days of the floods, the entire area was flooded with water. People have now returned, but the village is still surrounded by floodwater.

Mud, dirty water, and piles of trash mixed into one, in the corridor of Perguruan Rakyat elementary and junior high school. The school that was badly affected by the flood, was home to almost 500 students. Perguruan Rakyat school, sits just a few hundred meters from the Ciliwung River. Days of rain caused the water from the river to swell, surging into the riverbanks and filling the school and its neighborhood with up to three meters of water, and mud.

When UNICEF visited the school, we saw groups of students and teachers hand in hand, using buckets and water hoses with water from the river, scrubbing the tiles and furniture. Just a few days ago, the water inundated their school up to the ceiling.

A group of young boys was seen helping out in a classroom. “We came here to help out; our house is also flooded, but school is more important, so we can quickly go back to class, and most importantly play (soccer) with our friends,” said Ali, one of the students there.

Children are extremely vulnerable during floods. Threats include death due to drowning, and outbreaks of waterborne diseases. An estimated 83,000 children are currently affected by the floods. ©UNICEF Indonesia/2013/Estey

After giving UNICEF a tour of their classrooms and making sure that we carefully avoided puddles and mud, Ali continued, “The school gets flooded almost every year, and so does my house,” he added. Ali’s school was one of the worst hit schools in the district. The water and mud ruined the water pump and toilets, and most of the classroom furniture was destroyed or unusable. Ali now spends his days waiting for the water to recede, so that he can go back to school.

UNICEF worked closely with the Government and partner NGOs, to assess the humanitarian needs in this district and other flood-affected areas, to provide immediate emergency assistance. UNICEF and its implementing partner - Oxfam, and PBA - a local NGO, quickly started to assess affected families in the area of Kampung Melayu, Bukit Duri, one of the worst-affected districts, where thousands of households were affected.

To help prevent the spread of waterborne diseases, UNICEF distributed hygiene-related supplies, such as buckets, soap and jerry cans, along with family hygiene kits. UNICEF hygiene kits provide supplies such as soap, a soap dish, toothpaste, toothbrushes, flannel cloth sarong, and towels. UNICEF’s supply of emergency items to these areas continues, and efforts to minimize harm to children and women are a top priority.

At the same time, UNICEF and its partners are disseminating health and hygiene messages for the prevention of waterborne and vector diseases, through a mix of channels – including word of mouth, radio, posters, leaflets, brochures, and banners.

UNICEF Indonesia has activated its emergency fundraising programme for the Jakarta flood. For more information please visit:

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