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Indonesia's Coast: Overpopulated and ...
Jakarta, Indonesia
By Elisabetta Zavoli
01 Feb 2014

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPPC) report, released in October 2013, predicted global temperatures would rise 0.3 to 4.8 degrees Celsius this century. Seas will creep up by 26 to 82 centimeters by 2100. If no countermeasures are taken, "hundreds of millions" of coastal dwellers will be displaced by 2100. Small-island states and East, Southeast and South Asia will lose the most land. Among them, Jakarta is one of the cities in the world most vulnerable to flood losses because of growing population, climate change and subsidence.

The first thing that strikes you in Jakarta is the deadly traffic: motorbikes, cars, and rusted minibuses careen day and night through the streets of this messy megacity. Journeying across Jakarta means spending hours even for short distances in an unbreathable air. The second thing that strikes is the lack of a sewage system and wastewater treatment: along roadside, exposed or covered, ditches run in order to collect wastewater and sewage from homes, offices, commercial and industrial activities, which then pour into the waterways across the city. When wastewater reaches the coast it is black and polluted. A dreadful odor envelops Muara Angke’s slum, a community of poor fishermen families settled on the coastline, building their shacks on the waste from the processing of mussels.

Greater Jakarta is a delta city of more than 10 million people, crossed by 13 rivers and hundreds of canals. It is estimated that about 2 million people commute to downtown Jakarta from the suburbs every day. The metropolitan area of Jakarta is the second largest megacity in the world (after Tokyo-Yokohama area), home of an estimated population of more than 26 million, comprising the satellite cities of Tangerang, Depok, Bekasi and Bogor.

This year’s release of demographics of largest urban areas in the world (Demographia World Urban Area) shows that the population growth of Jakarta was 34,6% for the decade 2000-2010, ranking it in the top 10 world’s fastest-growing megacities.

Now, together with pollution and population growth, also climate change is a threat to Jakarta inhabitants. Coastline areas like Muara Angke, Pluit, Tanjung Priok are mainly covered by slums and regularly suffer of seasonal floods, monthly high tides, and rising of sea level. The shacks lack of any sort of protection against high water from the sea or floods from the maze of waterways that cut through the city. Jakarta was benefiting from a natural protection in the mangrove forests bordering the town, but these have gone lost. Mangroves have been reduced to a few narrow strips along the seaward, and are under continuous attack from pollutants and garbage. It is all about the missing mangrove forests, then.

Jakarta, West Java, and Banten mangrove forests occupied 44,453 hectares in 1996-1998, but were drastically reduced to 11,370 hectares in 2009. Today only 300 hectares of forest remains in Jakarta. Moreover, the north reservoirs, which should receive the water flooding from rivers and canals, are surrounded by slums as well. In fact, slums are replacing the role of mangroves as they are acting as a sort of urban, inhabited, and suffering buffer to the floods.

In Jakarta the sea is rising rapidly, but no displacement is occurring – could humans be a cheap way to mitigate sea level rise? Locals are getting used to have their shelters inundated. That is one of the prices that illegal immigrants have to pay when choosing to migrate from their village to Jakarta. This is the case, fore example of Maria, 30, and her husband, who migrated from a village in central Java four years ago. He is a minibus driver, and their baby was born just two weeks after the huge flood of January 2013. Their house is on the decaying banks of the Ciliwung river in the Rawajati subdistrict, and when the water rose, it was fully submersed by water and mud up to 4 meters.

“My pregnancy was at the end when I had to leave my house because it completely flooded. I may have returned only a few days after my baby was born. No one helped to clean or cared to know whether we were dead or if we needed any help”.

Maria’s story is not a one-off case. According to “Jakarta in Figure”, published in 2009, population living in poverty should count around 340,000. This is a conservative figure, though, as more than 20% of total settlements in Jakarta are in slum areas and there is a substantial percentage of illegally settled immigrants. The number of poor people might be far beyond that official number. These poor people usually work in informal sectors such as drivers, ojek (motorbike taxi), scavengers, navvies and so on.

Slum areas occupy chiefly river banks, like those on the Ciliwung. The shanties weaken the riverbanks and people live in very poor condition, with inadequate infrastructures, in unhealthy environment, and low accessibility to basic needs. They use the river water not only as sewage but as shower or for washing clothes. Ciliwung river is one of the city’s waterways most affected by floods: due to this illegal residential development, it has no overflow basins, and so flood enters directly inside the poor houses on its banks.

A typical modern and fast growing Asian city, Jakarta displays the contrasting bright glass-covered exclusive and luxury apartments, separated by no more than a crumbling wall from informal settlements. Elites and basic housing are there, side by side. Indonesia is the Southeast Asia’s largest economy with a growth of 6.5% (2011) and Jakarta is the biggest economic hub of the country, counting alone for the 7% of Indonesian GDP. Most of housing supply is targeted to rich people making the market of gated community and elite apartments increasing.

The exclusivity of this community is among the causes for the widening of the social segregation: giant towers and new luxury malls stand in the city amidst terrible poverty. Over the years, the policy makers of Jakarta have responded to increasing house demand by converting green areas and wetlands into residential, commercial, and industrial areas. In 1965, green areas still covered more than 35% of the total city area, but currently there is only 9.3% of green areas left. This happens despite in the regulated law provinces of Indonesia are required to have 30% green areas.

The more the town grows towards the sky, the more it sinks because of land subsidence. This chaotic and high density urban development is affecting also the uncontrolled use of ground water for household and industrial purposes, which is one major responsible of the subsidence of Jakarta, now displaying an impressive 10 cm per year rate of subsidence. As seawater underground intrusion grows in and around the capital, it is foreseen that in 10 to 15 years Jakarta will face groundwater scarcity.

Would all this not be enough to generate uncertainties around the fate of the town, today there is the climate threat. Currently, the Jakarta Capital City Government doesn’t have a policy specifically tailored to climate change, however they do have policies on disaster mitigation. Thus, after the disastrous flood of January 2013, which was caused losses of more than 4.3 trillion Indonesian Rupees, displacement of more than 100,000 people, and the death of 26, the Government has begun to clean illegal settlements on riverbanks and around the north reservoirs, moving people to new popular housing.

This is far from bringing a solution to the challenges that the megacity is facing. As stated in an article on Nature Magazine: “failing to adapt is not a viable option in coastal cities. The estimated adaptation costs are far below the estimate of aggregate damage losses per year, in the absence of adaptation”. The warn is there, how Indonesians will cope with the many challenges their capital is facing, is still an open question.

Not so different is the situation of other settlements on Java northern coast. Semarang, in central Java, is one of the biggest ports on the main Indonesia’s island. Here, the high tide’s ingression was already well known by the Dutch, who have been built a system of polders to protect the city. Yet, today that system is inadequate and the ROB, as it is called in the local language, has reached critical dimensions: started in 1995, the measurements reported flood only in the port area up to 500 meters from the coastline. Today, the high tide enters up to 5 km from the coastline, also flooding the old Dutch center. With a proven subsidence of 6 to 7 cm per year to "strengthen" the effect of rising sea level, entire neighborhoods are doomed to sink completely in the next 15 to 20 years.

Here, “adaptation” to climate change is taking an unpredicted path: the tidal flood is so fast (in three hours the water rises from the bottom up to 30 to 40 cm, in some areas daily in other areas two or three times per week) that in the last 30 years those who could lifted up the house. The poorest were just able to fill the flooded floor with rocks and sand – in short, burying their own house.

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MOUNT SINABUNG ERUPTION
Karo, North Sumatra, Indonesia
By Y.T Haryono
07 Jan 2014

Villagers are seen through the windshield of a car during an ash fall from the eruption of Mount SInabung in Sibintun, North Sumatra, Indonesia, early Tuesday, Jan. 7, 2014. About 20,000 villagers have been evacuated since authorities raised the alert status for Sinabung to the highest level in November 2013, local media reported on Monday.

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MOUNT SINABUNG ERUPTION
Karo, North Sumatra, Indonesia
By Y.T Haryono
07 Jan 2014

A woman uses a shovel to remove ash from Mount Sinabung, near her house at Tiga Pancur village in Karo district, Indonesia's North Sumatra province, January 7, 2014. About 20,000 villagers have been evacuated since authorities raised the alert status for Sinabung to the highest level in November 2013, local media reported on Monday.

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Mount Sinabung Eruption 4
Karo, North Sumatra, Indonesia
By Y.T Haryono
04 Jan 2014

Mount Sinabung volcano spews ash and lava as seen from Tiga Kicat village in Karo district, Indonesia's North Sumatra province, early morning January 5, 2014. About 20,000 villagers have been evacuated since authorities raised the alert status for Sinabung to the highest level in November 2013, local media reported on Monday.

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Mount Sinabung Eruption 3
Karo, North Sumatra, Indonesia
By Y.T Haryono
04 Jan 2014

Mount Sinabung volcano spews ash and lava as seen from Tiga Kicat village in Karo district, Indonesia's North Sumatra province, early morning January 5, 2014. About 20,000 villagers have been evacuated since authorities raised the alert status for Sinabung to the highest level in November 2013, local media reported on Monday.

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Mount Sinabung Eruption 2
Karo, North Sumatra, indonesia
By Y.T Haryono
04 Jan 2014

Mount Sinabung volcano spews ash and lava as seen from Tiga Kicat village in Karo district, Indonesia's North Sumatra province, early morning January 5, 2014. About 20,000 villagers have been evacuated since authorities raised the alert status for Sinabung to the highest level in November 2013, local media reported on Monday.

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Mount Sinabung Eruption 1
Karo, North Sumatra, Indonesia
By Y.T Haryono
04 Jan 2014

Mount Sinabung volcano spews ash and lava as seen from Tiga Kicat village in Karo district, Indonesia's North Sumatra province, early morning January 5, 2014. About 20,000 villagers have been evacuated since authorities raised the alert status for Sinabung to the highest level in November 2013, local media reported on Monday.

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Mount Sinabung Eruption
Karo, North Sumatra, Indonesia
By Transterra Editor
04 Jan 2014

Mount Sinabung volcano spews ash and lava as seen from Tiga Kicat village in Karo district, Indonesia's North Sumatra province, early morning January 5, 2014. About 20,000 villagers have been evacuated since authorities raised the alert status for Sinabung to the highest level in November 2013, local media reported on Monday.

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Activists Struggle to Save Skouries 3
Lerissos, Greece
By Michele Lapini
15 Nov 2013

A permanent road block in Ierissos, where people, citizens and activist surveile the entrance of Ierissos to prevent police attack.

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Activists Struggle to Save Skouries 2
Lerissos, Greece
By Michele Lapini
15 Nov 2013

Activists preparing the location for an antigold solidarity concert in Ierissos.

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Traditional oil wells East Java Indon...
Cepu, Indonesia
By Jeffrey Bright
17 Sep 2013

Traditional oil miner gathers buckets of crude oil to begin the distillation process of converting it into diesel fuel. Distillation is accomplished by heating the filtered crude oil to between 200 °C (392 °F) and 350 °C (662 °F). Cepu, Indonesia. 25/01/2011

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Traditional oil wells East Java Indon...
Cepu, Indonesia
By Jeffrey Bright
17 Sep 2013

Motorcycle is loaded with drums of diesel and transported to nearby villages to be sold. Cepu, Indonesia. 25/01/2011

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Daily Life in Tareq Al-Bab Market in ...
Aleppo, Northwestern Syria
By Antonio-Pampliega
15 Sep 2013

Thousands of people make their daily life in the city of Aleppo.
The most important markets of the city remain open.
Customers flock to buy despite the bombings on different areas of the city.

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Nuclear Power in Kudankulam, India
Kudankulam, India
By Transterra Editor
09 Sep 2013

Idinthakarai, a majority Christian fishing village near the Kudankulam Nuclear Power Plant (KKNPP) in India, has become the epicenter of the anti-nuclear movement in the region. There is an estimated one million people living within 30 kilometers of the plant in villages all along the coast of Mannar — which is against the stipulated safety rules of the Atomic Energy Regulatory Board (AERB) of India — and the people deeply fear that poor regulation at the KKNPP could result in a disaster similar in scale to Fukushima.

Representing this cause, since 2011, the People’s Movement Against Nuclear Energy (PMANE) has been holed up in Idinthakarai where their headquarters is located. Idinthakarai's only entry point is closely guarded by villagers which, coupled with rumours about the villagers being armed with crude bombs, means the police are reluctant to enter this zone and deal with protests.

PMANE largely depends on the efforts of the women, and the support of local priests and churches to gather support and manpower in the area for the anti-nuclear protests. They work from the Lourde Mary Church in Idinthakarai, 6 km away from the power plant, dutifully sending out press releases and Facebook updates on the rare robust internet connection provided by the church, demanding for the Nuclear Power Corporation of India Limited (NPCIL) to address their fears.

On May 6, 2013, the Supreme Court of India cleared the way for operations to begin at the Kudankulam Nuclear Power Plant (KKNPP). But despite the villagers' need for energy from other sources, and PMANE's best efforts, they still have received little or no safety-training in the event of a disaster. And the NPCIL continues to do little to assuage the fears of the local fishing communities.

Photos by Jyorthy Karat.
Article by Srinath Perur.

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Xanti Mortu
By Andrea Falletta
09 Aug 2013

The main square of Bacu Abis, a small town in Sardegna, ready to celebrate Saint Barbara day. Saint Barbara is the patron of the miners.

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Xanti Mortu
By Andrea Falletta
08 Aug 2013

A old man is crossing the street in Nuraxi Figus, a small town in Sardegna where most of the 600 inhabitants work in the coal mine, which is visible on the background of the photograph.

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Xanti Mortu
By Andrea Falletta
07 Aug 2013

An old miner sitting in front of his locker after a long day of work.

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Xanti Mortu
By Andrea Falletta
07 Aug 2013

Andrea, 41, the supervisor of the subsoil, stands with some of his colleagues in the lift used to go down the mine. It takes ten minutes to get out of the mine, which is 450 meters below the sea level.

Andrea has two children. His wife owns a small shop art shop in a small town near by the mine but she will not make enough money to support a family of four when the mine closes down.

“We are dead already” this is the meaning for the workers of the last remaining coal mine in Sardinia, Italy, to point at the inevitabile fate of their industry. They are part of the process which, over a few decades, has seen the decay of the role of the coal mining industry in Europe. Areas which for decades had been relign on this industry are left to reinvent their economies, having to deal with a heavily polluted environment and a highly specialized work force for a profession which belongs to the past.

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Xanti Mortu
By Andrea Falletta
07 Aug 2013

Clemente, 54, has spent more than 25 years working in the mine. He plans on retiring in 10 years, but the mine will close down before that.

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Xanti Mortu
By Andrea Falletta
07 Aug 2013

One of the mine's tunnels dug at a depth of 450 meters below the sea level. 30 km of tunnels were built in the mine.

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Xanti Mortu
By Andrea Falletta
07 Aug 2013

Efisio, 49, is the head of the "cultivation" department. He spent most of his life working in the mine is angry at the fact that it will soon be closed. 10 years ago he had the opportunity to get an office job, but decided to stay at the with his coworkers.

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Xanti Mortu
By Andrea Falletta
07 Aug 2013

"SALA D'ATTESA NEUROLOGIA" means "Waiting Room Neurology" in Italian. Miners write messages on the mine's walls to keep moral high.

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Xanti Mortu
By Andrea Falletta
07 Aug 2013

A shower used by the miners in the changing room.

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Xanti Mortu
By Andrea Falletta
07 Aug 2013

The mining engineer shows the plan of wells, structures and tunnels in the Seruci mine, which was closed in 1991, and Nuragi Figus, the only mine still open.

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Xanti Mortu
By Andrea Falletta
05 Aug 2013

A painting representing a miner and a family in the miners' canteen. In the past, miners were never sure they would return home alive from the mine.

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Lake Malawi (10 of 19)
Lake Malawi, Africa
By Luis Miguel Rodrigues
05 Aug 2013

The bridge in Mangochi marks the end of the lake and the beginning of Shire river, an affluent of Zambeze river. The bridge was made with donations from the Japanese Government. Malawi is one of the countries known for the good management of international funds given from donors.

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Lake Malawi - turbulent times in quie...
mangochi
By Luis Miguel Rodrigues
05 Aug 2013

Shire river starts in Mangochi and is the way for the waters of the lake go flow after the heavy rainy season that happens from December to May each year.

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Lake Malawi (12 of 19)
Lake Malawi, Africa
By Luis Miguel Rodrigues
05 Aug 2013

Fishing, bathing and washing clothes are constant activities at the lake.

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Lake Malawi (13 of 19)
Lake Malawi, Africa
By Luis Miguel Rodrigues
05 Aug 2013

Problems occur due to the oil reserves at the bottom of the Lake in Tanzania.

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Lake Malawi (14 of 19)
Lake Malawi, Africa
By Luis Miguel Rodrigues
05 Aug 2013

Lake Malawi is the 3rd biggest African Lake, with nearly over 13 million habitants, only on the Malawi side of the lake.

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Lake Malawi - turbulent times in quie...
malawi
By Luis Miguel Rodrigues
05 Aug 2013

Lake Malawi hosts 90% of the fresh water fish species of all the world in this single lake. Exporting them and tourism related with snorkeling is other of the activities, apart of fishing, that provide some jobs to the population.

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Lake Malawi - turbulent times in quie...
senga bay
By Luis Miguel Rodrigues
05 Aug 2013

Fish eagle in Livingstonia. This eagle is the national symbol of Malawian Police

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Lake Malawi - turbulent times in quie...
senga bay
By Luis Miguel Rodrigues
05 Aug 2013

Fisherman over his canoe. The lake and all its wild and human life that live from its shores have seen international protection after UNESCO declared it World Heritage Patrimony

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Lake Malawi (1 of 19)
Lake Malawi, Africa
By Luis Miguel Rodrigues
05 Aug 2013

Cape Maclear is the center of a UNESCO world heritage site that encompasses all the Lake Malawi National Park.

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Lake Malawi (2 of 19)
Lake Malawi, Africa
By Luis Miguel Rodrigues
05 Aug 2013

Drying fish under the sun is the best way to keep it suitable to eat in a country where most of the households don´t have access to refrigerators or even electricity to keep the fish fresh.

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Lake Malawi - turbulent times in quie...
senga bay
By Luis Miguel Rodrigues
05 Aug 2013

The water at the lake is, most of the year, calm but between June to August waves up to one meter or more can happen.