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Environment

At Least 66 Dead Due to Monsoons and Flooding in Jakarta

Why Global Citizens Should Care
The floods in Jakarta have led to deaths and high levels of displacement. Natural disasters such as flooding will become more severe in the coming decades as sea levels continue to rise, and these disasters are likely to cause further death and displacement, and destabilize many of the world’s major cities. You can join us in taking action on this issue here

High levels of rainfall have caused flooding and landslides in Indonesia’s capital, Jakarta, killing at least 66 people, according to the Guardian.

“These floods are the worst in over a decade in terms of scale and volume of water,” said Gugan Muhammad, a community organizer.

A representative from the National Disaster Mitigation Agency told the Guardian that nearly 400,000 people were forced to seek refuge in shelters due to the flooding.

Floodwaters reached 19 feet in some parts of the city, and power outages have occurred. Around 11,000 health workers have been deployed to help relief efforts, the Guardian reported, and have taken precautions such as spraying disinfectant to prevent the spread of disease. As of Jan. 6, more than 30,000 people have not been able to return home.

Read More: Meet the Cisco Youth Leadership Award Finalist Who's Making Deadly Floods Manageable in Indonesia

Flooding is not a new problem in Jakarta — in fact, Indonesia intends to move its capital because Jakarta is sinking into the ocean, often referred to as the "fastest sinking" city in the world.

The move will cost around 33 billion dollars, although the majority of the Jakarta’s 10 million residents are expected to remain, the Guardian reported earlier this year, with administration functions set to be moved to the island of Borneo.

While this may be an extreme case of environmental distress, Jakarta’s problems are not unique, as the effects of climate change continue to accelerate around the globe.

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A report from earlier this year estimated that 22% of the world’s major cities “will experience unprecedented climate conditions by 2050, such as more intense dry and monsoon seasons.

As sea levels rise due to climate change, the levels of flooding around the world could potentially double.

“Think of the ocean as the launching pad for storms and floods: the closer the sea is to human communities, the easier it is for floods to reach homes, roads and towns,” according to theSmithsonian Ocean. 

Floods and storms are already major drivers of displacement — according to the Internal Displacement Monitoring Center, 8.6 million people were displaced due to floods in 2018. And by the year 2050, 300 million people worldwide could be vulnerable to severe floods, according to CNN.