As flood waters recede, Jakarta residents file a lawsuit …

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More than 200 residents of Jakarta have filed a lawsuit against the governor for inaction during deadly floods.

By Rina Chandran

BANGKOK, January 14 (Thomson Reuters Foundation) – More than 200 Jakarta residents have filed a lawsuit against the governor of the Indonesian capital as they seek to hold authorities accountable for inaction during some of the deadliest floods in years, a Plaintiffs’ lawyer. .

At least 60 people died and almost 175,000 were displaced after some of the heaviest rains since records began causing flash floods and landslides in Jakarta and nearby towns on December 31 and New Year’s Day.

The lawsuit, which was filed in a Jakarta district court on Monday by 243 residents against Governor Anies Baswedan, said authorities had not taken sufficient measures and sought 42.3 billion rupees ($ 3.1 million) in compensation.

“People have been affected tremendously. They deserve compensation and the government’s guarantee that their concerns are being addressed,” said Alvon Kurnia Palma, of the Legal Assistance Foundation of Indonesia, which represents the plaintiffs.

“This is not the first time we have filed a lawsuit against the government for floods, but this time we have clear evidence that links government negligence with the damage caused. People are angry because nothing has been done,” he said.

A spokesman for Governor Baswedan did not respond to requests for comment on Tuesday.

With one of the longest coasts in the world, Indonesia is extremely vulnerable to the impacts of climate change.

The rising sea level and the inability of existing infrastructure to cope with excess water during the monsoon season have caused regular flooding in Jakarta, which is home to more than 10 million people.

Despite previous flooding in Jakarta and the large amount of data pointing to excessive rains, authorities did not warn residents and slowly responded to the recent crisis, Palma told the Thomson Reuters Foundation.

Part of the central government’s solution to the Jakarta floods is to move the capital to the island of Borneo by 2023.

Plans to improve flood defenses in Jakarta include the construction of two dams and works on the largest river in the city. President Joko Widodo has attributed the flood to delays in these projects.

Jakarta residents are not unhappy with the floods: Last year, a group of residents filed a lawsuit against the authorities for not stopping the worsening of air pollution.

The lawsuits are a sign of the growing frustration of residents with government inaction, said Shobhakar Dhakal, a professor in the department of energy, environment and climate change at the Asian Institute of Technology in Bangkok.

“It is a way for people to pressure governments to act and to raise awareness about the problems,” he said.

($ 1 = 13,666.55 Indonesian rupees)

(Report by Rina Chandran @rinachandran; Michael Taylor Edition. Please credit the Thomson Reuters Foundation, the charitable arm of Thomson Reuters, which covers humanitarian news, women’s rights and LGBT +, human trafficking, property rights and climate change Visit http: //news.trust.org)

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