As Jakarta floods again, humanitarian chatbots on social media support community-led disaster response

Community-led information sharing through supports response and relief efforts as Jakarta is inundated for the third major time this year

On February 20th, #banjir and #JakartaBanjir were the highest trending topics on Twitter Indonesia, as the capital city was inundated for the third major time this year, following particularly heavy rainfall from Friday night (19/2/2021) to Saturday morning (20/02/2021). As Jakarta residents turned to social media to share updates about the flood, they were greeted by “Disaster Bot” – a novel AI-assisted chatbot that monitors social media for posts about disasters and automatically invites users to submit more detailed disaster reports. These crowd-sourced reports are used to map disasters in real-time, on a free and open source website,

As flooding blocked major thoroughfares and toll roads, disrupted commuter lines, and cut off electricity to over 60,000 homes, residents continued to share updates about the flood situation in order to stay alert and make timely decisions about safety and response. Hundreds of residents submitted flood reports to, alerting each other about water levels, broken infrastructures and road accessibility. The Jakarta Emergency Management Agency also updated the map with official information about flood affected  areas, and monitored the map to respond to resident needs. experienced a 2000% in activity in under 12 hours as residents actively checked the map to understand the flooding situation, avoid flooded areas, and make decisions about safety and response. 

Residents share updates about flood-affected road access through the open source information sharing platform, Thousands of residents used the map to navigate safely as heavy rainfall inundated the city for the third major time this year.

As flooding incidents continue to occur with increasing intensity across the country, community-led information sharing is once again proving its significance in supporting response and planning at multiple scales. Data from is consumed by the National Emergency Management Agency’s (BNPB) InAWARE Disaster Monitoring platform to support decision making. BPBD DKI’s application Pantau Banjir also integrates real-time flood information from to push flood updates to residents. Over the course of the weekend, several media platforms turned to as a verified information source to support news coverage about the flooding situation across Jakarta’s neighborhoods, including the Jakarta Post, Kompas, Tribun, and the Jakarta Globe, among others. Once again, this weekend’s incidents highlight the significance of community engagement in disaster information sharing.

Government agencies and media platforms use crowd-sourced information from to share disaster updates. Left: screenshot of Pantau Banjir application; Right: screenshot of Jakarta Post graphic produced with data from

People on-the-ground are best equipped to provide location-specific information updates, and observations arising from lived experiences are critical to gain insight on how we collectively respond to the changing behavior of floods in the city. One of the most common observations shared by residents was the persistence of flood waters in their neighborhoods even several days after the rain had stopped; an observation that can be attributed to the increased concretization of the city and overflowing canals.

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. 

As BMKG predicts extreme rainfall to continue until April, Dwikorita Karnawati, Head of BMKG, emphasizes the need for improved coordination and synergy between multiple stakeholders for climate adaptation efforts.

Residents of Indonesia can submit real-time flood reports by tweeting #banjir @petabencana, sending a Facebook message to, or sending a Telegram message to @bencanabot. We remind everyone to check for up-to-date information and to stay safe! is a part of the USAID BNPB InAWARE: Disaster Management Early Warning and Decision Support Capacity Enhancement Project in Indonesia. is supported by the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID). The project is made possible through collaboration with project partners including the Pacific Disaster Center at the University of Hawaii, the Humanitarian OpenStreetMap Team, and Civic Data Lab; our implementing partners at the National Emergency Management Agency (BNPB) and Jakarta Emergency Management Agency (BPBD DKI Jakarta); and, our data partners including Mapbox, Twitter, Qlue, and PasangMata.