A fisherman walks across a road flooded by seawater in Jakarta, Indonesia, in April 2013. Home to more than ten million people, Jakarta is the capital and largest city of a sprawling island nation. Today the city faces significant threats from flooding, sinking land, rising sea levels, and climate change.
Pictures Reveal Hardship in the World’s Fastest Sinking City
Jakarta, Indonesia, is sinking below sea level, thanks to a perfect storm of illegal water pumping, rising water, and climate change.
Beijing-based photographer Sean Gallagher traveled to Jakarta to report on these challenges. The city has long faced serious floods, including a deluge in 2007 that killed 50 people and displaced 300,000. But the problem seems to be getting worse, said Gallagher.
In fact, the problem has progressed since we first published this photo essay. A New York Times special report published December 21, 2017brought new attention to this problem.
"In fact, Jakarta is sinking faster than any other big city on the planet, faster, even, than climate change is causing the sea to rise—so surreally fast that rivers sometimes flow upstream, ordinary rains regularly swamp neighborhoods and buildings slowly disappear underground, swallowed by the earth," the Times wrote. "The main