In January 2020, record-breaking rainfall inundated Jakarta with more water than its infrastructures were able to cope with. Severe flooding affected large parts of the city, resulting in dozens of casualties and thousands of displaced residents.
Indonesia’s Meteorology, Climatology and Geophysics Agency (BMKG) attributed the unusually intense rainfall to a convergence of wind patterns, and warned of more frequently occurring extreme weather events as a result of climate change. The agency recorded 377 mm of rain, the highest daily volume Jakarta has experienced since records began in 1866.
As rising waters blocked roads, shut down one of the city’s airports, and cut off electricity, millions of residents continued to search for and share up-to-date information through various social media channels. Thousands of residents submitted flood reports to PetaBencana.id, informing each other about the severity of the flood, infrastructure failures, and response efforts. PetaBencana.id experienced a 24,000% increase in activity as residents actively checked the web map to understand the flooding situation, avoid flooded areas, and make decisions about safety and response. The Jakarta Emergency Management Agency (BPBD DKI Jakarta) monitored the map to respond to resident needs, coordinate response, and also updated the real-time map with information about flood affected neighborhoods.
Agus Wibowo, Head of the Center for Data, Information and Public Relations at the National Disaster Management Agency (BNPB), urged residents to share flood reports through PetaBencana.id, iterating the significance of information sharing and community-based disaster response.
Head of BNPB Pusdalops, Bambang Surya Putra, said that PetaBencana.id was very useful in enabling his team to monitor disaster events and in providing a greater understanding of events to all residents.
Jakarta residents also acknowledged the increase in response times due to two-way information sharing through the platform. Chaidir A. Adlan, Jakarta resident, said “PetaBencana.id is providing actionable insight for BPBD and rescue teams. It’s the best available approach to date.”
Flood data from PetaBencana.id was also used by NASA to calibrate satellite flood maps with crowd-sourced ground observations, in order to support flood analysis and planning efforts. In an article published by NASA, Dr. Sang-Ho Yun, lead of disaster response for NASA’s Advanced Rapid Imaging and Analysis team at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, explains the significance of corroborating satellite overviews with on-the-ground crowdsourced reporting in order to map flood extents.
“This is the first time that we were able to rapidly generate a flood proxy map from so many satellite scenes and calibrate it with ground observations,” said Yun. “This is really important for mapping flood extent in urban areas.”
The spirit of gotong-royong displayed through these difficult times is a testament to the strength of community-led information sharing, supporting response and planning efforts at multiple scales. Yayasan Peta Bencana thanks all residents of Indonesia for continuing to share critical information, and applauds the indispensable role of all residents in helping neighbors, government agencies, responders, and researchers develop strategies for climate adaptation.
Heavy rains are expected to continue throughout the monsoon season. Residents of Jakarta, Surabaya, Semarang, and Bandung can submit real-time flood reports by tweeting #banjir @petabencana, sending a Facebook message to @petabencana.id, or send a Telegram message to @bencanabot. We remind everyone to check https://petabencana.id for up-to-date information and to stay safe!
PetaBencana.id is a platform run by Yayasan Peta Bencana as a free, transparent platform for emergency response and disaster management in megacities in South and Southeast Asia. PetaBencana.id is a part of the USAID BNPB InAWARE: Disaster Management Early Warning and Decision Support Capacity Enhancement Project in Indonesia.