Jakarta, Aug 16 (AFP/APP):Time is running out for Jakarta.
One of the fastest-sinking cities on earth, environmental experts warn that one third of it could be submerged by 2050 if current rates continue.
Decades of uncontrolled and excessive depletion of groundwater reserves, rising sea-levels, and increasingly volatile weather patterns mean swathes of it have already started to disappear.
Existing environmental measures have had little impact, so authorities are taking drastic action: the nation will have a new capital.
Its location could be announced imminently, according to local reports.
“The capital of our country will move to the island of Borneo,” Indonesian leader Joko Widodo said on Twitter.
Relocating the country’s administrative and political heart may be an act of national preservation, but it effectively sounds the death-knell for Jakarta where many of the city’s 10 million residents have little means of escape.
“When the floods came I used to tremble,” food stall owner Rasdi told AFP.
“I nearly drowned back in 2007 — all my belongings were swept away and I had to start over again,” said from his home close to Jakarta’s northern port, one of the worst affected by sinking ground.
Built in an earthquake zone, on swamplands, near the confluence of 13 rivers, the city’s foundations have been further stressed by unchecked development, heavy traffic, and poor urban planning.