Saturday, February 10, 2007

Tents in the park

The administration is trying to move flood refugees into tent cities throughout Jakarta. There's one near us in the sports complex at Senayan, right in the shadow of gleaming skyscrapers.

Each site is equipped with 50 army tents, and each tent can hold 100 people (so they said, although I can't really imagine cramming that many people into them). The tents are pretty army-ish, and they're not long on privacy. But the people we talked to seemed happy to have clean clothes, regular meals, and protection from the weather. One woman had been sheltering beneath highway underpasses for the last few nights. She moved to one underpass, but the flood followed her, so she had to move to another. She was relieved just to stay put for a while.

Kids were running around everywhere, shouting, laughing, playing soccer, and generally causing a ruckus. This boy made a cat's cradle with rubber bands. "Know what it is? Know what it is?" he asked me breathlessly. "It's a house!"


m said...

what a fantastic photo of the kid with the cat's cradle!

by the way, do you know anything about the security issues for these folks now living in tents? I can't imagine such a set up in a US city without lots of police to protect (and/or control) all the people living and sleeping out in the open in the city.

kopisusu2 said...

The place was run by the army, so there were plenty of soldiers around. I can imagine there would be issues of people taking each other's stuff or feeling like they didn't get a fair shake in the distribution of clothes, food, etc. But when we were there, everything seemed pretty laid back.

kopisusu2 said...

And thanks! I'm fond of that picture too.