Homeless & vulnerable in the climate crisis
This image shows Pak Kosim, one of over 30 people who have made a home on the underside of this low river
bridge in central Jakarta, Indonesia. The inhabitants of this bridge sleep on wooden platforms suspended just a
metre or so above one of the heavily polluted toxic rivers of Indonesia’s capital. I took this image as part of an
Indonesian student report on the state of homelessness in Jakarta. Though the economic and social impact on
homelessness can be connected with the climate crisis, there is another reason why I have selected this image for
this year’s topic.
In January 2020, Jakarta experienced its worst flooding since records began, 62,000 people were evacuated and
displaced and at least 21 people died. Heavy flash flooding in Jakarta has become the new normal in the past ten
years as climate change and air pollution leads to more extreme weather events. Jakarta is particularly affected as
its annual temperature rise has been 1.4 times higher than the global average. This increase in temperature has
been attributed to high concentrations of CO2 from transportation, industry and deforestation.
Though the entire population of Jakarta (30 million people) feel the impact of these floods, it is the poorest and most
vulnerable who are paying the highest price. Jakarta has over 28,000 homeless, many of whom have taken
residence alongside or under the bridges of the 13 rivers of Jakarta.
The head of the BMKG has said, “ Extreme weather & climate phenomena are happening more frequently and with
greater intensity. Such occurrences are predicted to increase if we fail to carry out mitigation measures.”
The theme of climate justice touches on many issues including politics, trade, and human rights. To learn more about the climate crisis, the inequalities it emphasises, and how different organisations are working towards a fairer and more sustainable world, check out the links below: