Cause of the Severe 1996 Flood in Jakarta

In February 1996, Jakarta was hit by one of the worst flood disasters. The main cause of this natural disaster was due to rainfall where levels exceeded 5 times the norm. Since Jakarta is a tropical rainforest climate, heavy rain is very common especially during monsoon season where water levels can go up to more than 300mm. Specifically to 1996, as you can see on the map below, the northern area of Jakarta where Kamal Muara is also located was facing extremely high levels of rain, ranging between 550mm to 750mm. Large precipitation caused nearby rivers and seashores to swell which caused overflowing of water into the towns such as the nearby kampungs. As well as severe weather conditions, what makes these natural disasters more threatening to Jakarta is the problem of land subsidence where they are continuing to sink exponentially every year.

Fig 1. Rainfall recorded over 3 years: 1996, 2002 and 2007

(Reference: Map from The pattern of spatial flood disaster region in DKI Jakarta on page 6)

This unfortunate occurrence of flooding affected residents left stranded in their villages with no safe place to stay. There were damages caused on their houses and roads submerged in water where levels were as high as a person’s waist. Not only did this make a negative impact on the safety of the citizens of Jakarta, but also the economy and the finance sector. This was because of the large amount of cost incurred to compensate for the damages caused in many different parts of the city and the emergency measures made for the safety of the affected citizens. As a whole, this incident was particularly hard for the government and the citizens as they were faced with a devastating situation that could not be avoided.


  1. World Bank. Jakarta – Urban challenges in a changing climate (English). Washington, DC: World Bank. 2011.
  2. P Tambunan. The pattern of spatial flood disaster region in DKI Jakarta. 2017.

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