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January 24, 2013

Pope Benedict XVI prays for flood victims in Jakarta

Vatican City. Pope Benedict XVI has offered his prayers to the victims of floods in Indonesia’s capital Jakarta and said “no one should go without the necessary aid.”
The 85-year-old pope said during his weekly general audience on Wednesday: “I have been following with preoccupation the news from Indonesia where a large flood has devastated Jakarta, leaving in its wake victims, thousands without shelter and significant damage.”
“I wish to express my closeness to the populations hit by this natural calamity, assuring them my prayers and encouraging solidarity so that no one should go without the necessary aid,” he said in front of some 2,000 faithful gathered at the Vatican.
At least 20 people were killed last week by the floods, which forced 40,000 people from their homes and were the worst to hit the capital since 2007.
Source : Agence France-Presse

News update from the ABCnews : The Holy See Benedict XVI  will resign on February 28th this year due to his advanced age. 
Here is the Vatican translation of what the Pope said today regarding his resignation.
Pope Benedict XVI resigns : the Official Statement 
 Pls kindly pray for his recovery 

Jakarta will not get “drowned” this weekend
The first Weather Modification to be applied In Jakarta in 2013

 “We should be able to tell “ 'being inundated' and  getting drowned  apart ',” Andi Arief, a presidential adviser on disaster management and social affairs, said on Thursday, as quoted by
No, Jakarta will not get “drowned” this weekend, a presidential adviser cited on Thursday in response to widespread reports that heavy rainfall would lead to one of the worst cases of flooding the capital has ever seen.
He was responding to a statement from University of Indonesia hydrologist Firdaus Ali, who said that rain over the coming days would bring floods worse than the one in 2007, when 231 square kilometers of the capital were submerged, killing 80 people and displacing 320,000 others.
“On Jan. 26, 27 and 28, there will be a full moon and rising tides on the beaches in the north of Jakarta,” he said. “If the intensity of the rain in the city is still high, and the floods from Puncak and Bogor are factored in, then it is certain that parts of Jakarta will get drowned.”

In a somewhat desperate enterprise to ease flooding in Jakarta, Governor Jokowi appears to have opted for weather engineering technology to divert the intense rains.

“I have sent a letter to the Agency for Assessment and Application of Technology (BPPT) to move the clouds to the north [the sea],” he told reporters at City Hall on Tuesday.

Modifying the weather, according to meteorology and geophysics expert Armi Susandi from Bandung Institute of Technology, can be done by using hygroscopic substances to encourage clouds to form. 

In anticipation of more flooding to hit Jakarta over the next few days, the Agency for the Assessment and Application of Technology will use weather modification technology to try and alter the city's forecast of torrential downpours.

Tri Handoko Seto, the head of the artificial rain division at the agency known as BPPT, told that the agency would try and induce the rain from outside of Jakarta and its greater region to above the sea. The agency will use its two Casa airplanes and a military-owned Hercules airplane to perform the process of cloud seeding. 

Rain-Inducing Assessment and Technology Application Division :
Head of Division : Dr. Tri Handoko Seto, MSc.
 Weather Modification Technology Center, Indonesia with its slogan atmospheric engineering is our business.

 According to Ronald B. Standler
"Weather modification is the effort of man to change naturally occurring weather, for the benefit of someone. The best-known kind of weather modification is cloud seeding, with the goal of producing rain or snow, suppressing hail (which can ruin crops), or weakening hurricanes"
weather modification

“Before the clouds enter Jakarta [sky], we'll give them [cloud] seedings like salt that we have chemically processed,” he explained, adding that the idea was for Jakarta to be hit with light rain rather than a heavy downpour.

Aside from cloud seeding, the agency plans to also use 20 ground base seeding generators to control the rain between Jakarta's coastal region to Bogor.

“These [generators] spray particles from the ground and tower,” Tri said. “So even though the clouds will develop into rain, the rain will fall elsewhere after the clouds have been carried away by the wind.”

"Tri said that they would carry out the weather modification process 

  for two months, beginning Saturday, January 26 until March 25, 2013.
The funding for weather modification operations is estimated to amount to Rp 13 billion, which is derived from the Indonesian: National Disaster Management Agency) ( BNPB.)'s disbursable  funds or ready money."

The Meteorology, Climatology and Geophysics Agency (BMKG) has forecast torrential downpours from Jan. 26 to 29 mainly in the northern and western parts of Jakarta and in the southern part of Bogor.
Andi did not deny that the city may see flooding again, but emphasized that Jakarta would not get drowned.
“The regions that have been inundated — again, will be inundated, but not drowned — are in the northern parts of Jakarta, which are just one or two meters above the sea level,” he said.
Andi added that flooding can be prevented by cleaning drainage, mainly around the West Flood Canal and Cengkareng Drainage.

“Let's face it with empathy, solidarity and cooperation,” he said.
Meanwhile, Jakarta Governor Joko Widodo said on Thursday that he would proceed with the  former governor Fauzi Bowo's plan to build a giant sea wall in North Jakarta.
“We will accelerate the construction of the giant sea wall,” Jokowi said. “We will ask the National Development Planning Agency [Bappenas] and Presidential Unit for Development, Supervision and Oversight [UKP4] to prepare the plan because it would involve a huge budget and take a long time.”
Construction, Jokowi said, It would take around 10 years. “It's really needed,” he said. “But it will need hundreds of trillions [of rupiah].”
The giant sea wall, basically a dyke or levee , is part of the grand design or master plan made by the Jakarta administration with the help of Dutch government in 2011.
The Jakarta Governor Jokowi said the dyke or levee  would also function as a freshwater dam to benefit the surrounding communities.
The government also plans to make the area around the dyke or levee,  a Special Economic Zone where they will build mass rapid transport, toll roads and new business districts.

Sources : theJakartaglobe , thejakartapost, and various sources

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