Foreseeable Floods

JEWEL SAMAD—AFP/GETTY IMAGES

Jakarta residents are rescued from a rooftop during the city1s floods

Monsoon rains aren't new in Jakarta. But with at least 50 people dead and more than 340,000 forced to flee their homes, this year's flooding is the worst in recent memory—and blame is falling on the city government for failing to make infrastructure fixes that might have prevented the devastation. Waterways like central Jakarta's Ciliwung River routinely overflow in heavy rains, despite government pledges to clean them up. Work on a floodwater canal in East Jakarta has dragged as residents complain about poor land compensation. And unchecked development is eroding green areas critical to absorbing rainfall: a former catchment area in...

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