Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Day five of Jakarta flooding 2007

We awoke on Monday night to the most violent thunder and lightening storm. It was shaking the building with the booming cracks. I have always enjoyed a theatrical storm, but last night I was so preoccupied by the thought of all the poor homeless families sheltering with their children in makeshift accommodation. It must have been terrifying for them. Unfortunately the storm was followed by heavy rain which has not helped the flooding.

The kids and I went to school on Monday, but as less than a third of the other children were there we all left with Ben at 11am. The teachers were listening to the radio as there was reports that gates in Bogor were going to be opened which could intensify the flooding in Jakarta.

Our driver made it to work on Monday. GJ got the HR manager to translate to find out how his family was faring. His house is still underwater with all his families belongings, including clothes. GJ took him aside and we gave him a months salary as a gift. I am getting a care package together for his wife and daughters.
In Indonesia it seems that even though he is a full time employee, he doesn’t get paid if he doesn’t work. So in the midst of this disaster Mr Yardi still comes to work. GJ and the HR manager are padding out the company budget in order to offer assistant to the affected employees.

Because of the heavy rain last night I decided to keep the kids home from school. I had an appointment with our Real Estate broker at 11am which we decided to keep. What a loooooong day. We drove two km to collect Ms Linda (a wonderfully sprite Indonesian lady in her seventies), then 3km to the fabric shop where I spent 8-10 minutes selecting the fabric for curtains (cream sheers with lining), and then back to our new home which is 400m from Ms Linda’s home (where we collected her from at the start of the day). This took 5 hours, I kid you not, absolutely no exaggerating - 10.15 am to 3.30pm.

Most of the roads were gridlocked with cars and motor bikes. This was our first glimpse of the flooding and the effect it is having on the city. In some spots you would not know that there was any problems, people were going about their business as usual. Then a block later you would look sideways and see a street totally submerged or homes with all the bedding piled outside to dry.

I realize at moments like these how very fortunate we really are. I would love to be more proactive with helping out but am too new to know where to go or what to do with my kids. At least in Australia I could go back to the Red Cross (where I used to work) and step right in.

At the moment the sun is shining through into the apartment and you would have no idea that less that 3km away there are streets flooded and 340 000 are homeless. Here is a link to some images.

2 comments:

Laurel Wreath said...

This just breaks my heart. Very overwhelming. Very nice of you to take care of the driver like that, but I know you would do what you could.

Stay safe.

John said...

Thanks for your personal reports, Jenny!
I took the liberty to quote you in my own blog:
http://www.asiaobserver.com/blog/

John