Tidal Flood May hits Jakarta of Indonesia next week : World Bank
May 30, 2008, 10:59 am
Filed under: Flood

The World Bank warned Thursday that an exceptionally high tide could
inundate the Indonesian capital next week, forcing thousands of
people to flee homes and cutting off the highway to the
international airport.

The situation — exacerbated by global warming and the fact that
Jakarta is sinking up to 2 inches a year — could mean flooding will
exceed last November’s roof-high levels in the hardest-hit areas,
said Hongjoo Hahm, the bank’s infrastructure expert.

“This is just the beginning,” he said, as he pointed to homes
reaching a mile inland that will likely be affected Tuesday and
Wednesday by the 18-year semiannual tide cycle. “It’s getting worse
and worse.”

Indonesia, a sprawling archipelago nation, is one of the world’s
largest contributors of carbon dioxide emissions, thanks to the
rapid pace of deforestation. But experts say the country is also at
risk of becoming one of the biggest victims of climate change.

Rising sea waters especially pose a threat to coastal cities like
Jakarta, which has sunk at least 7 feet in the last three decades
because of excessive ground water extraction, said Hahm.

Eventually, the government should consider building a Dutch-styled
dike to protect the Jakarta Bay, he said, “but that will cost
billions of U.S. dollars.”

The 18-year high tide cycles occur when the sun and moon are in
direct alignment and making their closest approach to the Earth.
Other factors, such as global warming or El Nino and La Nina, have
made the sea swells even larger in recent years, Hahm said

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