Fire victims asked to hang on as city solves housing woes

  • AseanPlus News
  • Wednesday, 12 Jun 2019

Picking up the pieces: Kampung Bandan residents looking for their belongings and clearing the debris from the site of the fire in Jakarta. — The Jakarta Post/Asia News Network

Jakarta: Yuli was born 38 years ago and grew up in the Kampung Bandan railway neighbourhood in North Jakarta until she became a housewife, but now she has to make do living in a “house” without walls or roof, since one month ago fires raged through the kampung she called home.

Yuli expresses discomfort about having to sleep and do household chores under a tarpaulin since the May 11 fire, as she had to deal with bad weather and noise.

Other residents had been forced to stay with relatives, rent new places or rebuild their houses as the tents provided by the city administration and humanitarian organisations have been dismantled.“It is up to the city administration to do something. (During his visit after the fire) the governor told us to be patient, saying the city was attempting to provide a better place for us to live,” she said on Sunday.

Since then, the administration had not shared any information on what it planned, she said.

If it was considering vertical housing, she said she would not mind paying a monthly rent as long as she could afford it.

The food seller said she wishes to collect enough money to rebuild her house, which burned with some 400 others last month.

That might take some time, she said, as her income and her husband’s combined was only just adequate to make ends meet for their family of five.

The May 11 fire razed three neighbourhood units (RT) in community unit (RW) 5 in Kampung Bandan, displacing more than 3,000 people.

The residents had actually been living on land owned by state-owned railway operator PT KAI.

Less than a week after the blaze, Jakarta Governor Anies Baswedan claimed that PT KAI had given approval for the city administration to build rusun (low-cost apartments) as a long-term solution, while the short-term one was to provide temporary shelters.

Other residents, however, oppose the idea, insisting they should be able to secure ownership rights to their houses.

Asep, 50, who was rebuilding his house with Hebel blocks on Sunday, opined that all measures attempted by the city administration would have consequences.

“The cost (for residents) to rebuild a house is cheaper than paying monthly rent for a rusun for, let’s say, two years, so I personally refuse to move out,” he said.

Asep said other residents shared similar opinions. “They would build houses of a similar size. Here, some people have larger houses compared to others, so they also disagree with the idea.”

The Kampung Bandan fire prompted city-owned developer Perumda Pembangunan Sarana Jaya and PT KAI to draft a Memorandum of Understanding about arranging areas in the vicinity of train stations across Jakarta.

“After the MoU is signed, a business to business agreement would follow,” Jakarta Governance Bureau head Premi Larasari said. — The Jakarta Post/Asia News Network

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