Floods are inevitable in Jakarta, and no area seems immune from the recent ‘flash’ floods that hit even the most affluent areas of the city. So how do you beat these floods?

Indonesians are very adaptable people and find a solution on their own, instead of waiting and getting stuck in a flooded area. So they just kick off their shoes, roll up their pants or jeans, and wade through the water, walking casually along the less-flooded side of the streets.

Drivers have a different solution, they park on the higher ground, wait, and if the flooding gets worse, they lock their car and join the slow, winding lines of people wading through the water.

Some drivers take a chance and drive through flood waters, a possibility that can end up with your car stuck in the middle of the water, but also a ‘chance’ to be able to make your way through the flood. SUV owners love this challenge and are always taking risks.

I have a flood survival kit, after being caught too many times, in many flash floods. So, armed with a patient smile and a small backpack containing an umbrella, a pair of rubber gloves, a pair of waterproof military pants, an extra t-shirt, a small towel, and several small waterproof bags to store my cell phone, iPod, and wallet dry, I fight my way out of them.

After being caught twice in the floods, once for over 11 hours in Java, now I wait around an hour, if the rains don’t stop and the water keeps rising I will follow the line of people slowly winding out of the area flooded . Then find a way to get back home or to the office.

Last Friday, I discovered that this attitude of fighting against floods does not always work, floods can partially affect areas, which means that main roads can be cut off in places and temporary islands form around dry areas.

One way to judge this is to look at the traffic, if there is no traffic in a city known for its traffic, it means that the road has been closed. Traffic arriving from one lane means that only that lane is free from flooding, and only buses and larger trucks go through any road, meaning nothing else can get through.

Then there is another problem, if it is still raining and you are in a dry place on the road, there is no guarantee that you will be able to get transportation, or even wait in a roadside restaurant, internet cafe or even in a hotel room, if things are getting really bad. Often parts of a road are dry, but surrounding homes and businesses are in the process of flooding or are inundated.

So what do you do, stuck on an island of dry land, which used to be a main city road, with non-stop rain?

The Indonesians have a unique answer: stop a passing container truck and jump over any available space it has. Forget taxis that take a chance, need the fare and usually end up circling you, looking for a way out. These trucks traverse most flooded areas and bring you closer to home, where you can jump out and walk home.

Last week I saw a JCB picking up passengers, the driver sitting happily with his wife and two children sitting around his seat. Obviously, the driver had come to the rescue of his stranded family and then decided to earn a little extra money, picking up passengers.

Flooding is no longer funny in Jakarta, and when the city’s main business district is affected and the only main road to the airport is closed. Things shut down, descending into orderly chaos, where ordinary Indonesians quickly adapted and found a solution, even if it’s a very uncomfortable one.

Neither is Jakarta or Indonesia, the only country that has flooding problems, other countries have the same problem, even developed countries like Australia and the United States. But Indonesia does not have enough resources to deal with the floods.

There is no ready supply of helicopters or rescue boats. The city’s rivers are not dredged, because the city does not have enough dredges. Therefore, people have to improvise and find a solution on their own, with the resources at hand.

In 2007, the “great flood“It arrived in Jakarta, and for two weeks, the city groaned under the stress of nearly two weeks of flash flooding, leaving many areas of the city under a meter of water. Some areas were effectively ‘abandoned’ for days, but then came the Miracle of Jakarta.

There were no reports of looting, and the city’s population calmly accepted the flooding, without the chaos seen in other cities around the world, such as New Orleans.

But everyone here must be thinking: Will the rainy season flooding ever stop?

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