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2020 has been a record year for flooding in the Asia-Pacific region, with cities in East, Southeast, and South Asia seeing economic losses, loss of life, and widespread displacement due to heavy rains.

“The Ciliwung river flow was deemed essential to mitigating flooding in the short term, so thousands of households were displaced,” said Gavin Shatkin, a professor at Northeastern University, who researches flood resilience in Indonesia.

The displaced were from low-income communities, and the resulting backlash led to several court cases, and played a role in the Jakarta governor being voted out in 2017, showing the risk of ignoring socioeconomic factors when designing flood resilience programs. Jakarta is also sinking, so to help alleviate the problem, along with several related urbanization issues, the government is relocating the functions of government to a new capital city on the island of Borneo, a plan now on hold due to COVID-19. Jakarta will still be the financial and business center of Indonesia.

 

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