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  Home News and events General environmental news Climate change worsening Indonesian floods
Climate change worsening Indonesian floods

February 07, 2007, 11:30  Climate change has contributed to extreme weather conditions that triggered the worst flooding in the Indonesian capital in years, a deputy environment minister said today.


The floods that have submerged huge areas in Jakarta and its surroundings since last week have killed 50 people and displaced hundreds of thousands.

"It's a natural phenomenon affected by climate change. It's been made worse by negligent behaviour," Masnellyarty Hilman, a deputy environment minister in charge of drafting a national strategy to deal with climate change, said. She said warmer seas had heated up monsoon winds that carry moisture from the ocean to the land, leading to extra heavy rain.

Rachmat Witoelar, the environment minister, and green groups have blamed the heavy flooding partly on excessive construction in Jakarta's water catchment areas.

Construction boom blamed
Jakarta has seen a huge construction boom since the Asian financial crisis of the late 1990s, slashing the green areas in the low-lying city that has always been prone to flooding.

Hilman said Indonesia was preparing a strategy to deal with climate change and would submit the draft to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) this month.

A UN panel said last week that humans were to blame for global warming, and predicted more droughts, heatwaves and a slow rise in sea levels that could continue for more than 1 000 years even if greenhouse gas emissions were capped.

Indonesia could lose 2 000 islands by 2030 because of rising sea levels caused by climate change, Witoelar said last month.

Indonesia is due to host UN environment ministers' talks in December in Bali to discuss climate change. - Reuters,2172,143344,00.html

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