Flood-hit city evacuated
TENS OF thousands of people were evacuated in Indonesia’s capital, Jakarta, yesterday after flash floods and landslides killed up to 26 people amid some of the heaviest rain in more than 20 years, with more deluges forecast.
The flooding, among the deadliest in years, caused chaos in parts of Southeast Asia’s biggest city, with train lines blocked and power outages in some areas. Swathes of Jakarta and nearby towns were inundated after heavy rain fell on New Year’s Eve and into the early hours of New Year’s Day.
Social affairs ministry data showed 26 people had been killed in the flooding, up from the earlier toll of 21.
By yesterday, more than 62 000 people had been evacuated in Jakarta alone, a disaster mitigation agency spokesperson said, although later in the day he told news channel Metro TV the number of evacuees was down to about 35 000 people.
Rainfall at an airport in East Jakarta measured 37.7cm on Wednesday, the highest daily reading during major floods since 1996, according to the Meteorology, Climatology and Geophysics Agency.
Umar Dani, 52, and his family were evacuated overnight from his home in East Jakarta on a rubber boat after water levels rose up to his neck.
“It has not flooded for so long here. We didn’t have the chance to bring anything,” he said.
“I have to live on the streets now.” President Joko Widodo told reporters evacuation and safety measures should be prioritised and called for more co-ordination between city administrations and the central government.
On his Twitter page, Widodo blamed delays in flood control infrastructure projects for the flooding. He said some projects had been delayed since 2017 due to land acquisition problems.
Jakarta governor Anies Baswedan said authorities had deployed hundreds of pumps to suck water from residential areas across the capital, which had allowed some people return home.
“They want to return home immediately and start cleaning up their houses as soon as they are able to enter their houses as water recedes,” Baswedan told reporters during a visit to a densely populated area in East Jakarta affected by the flood.
The mitigation agency said on its Twitter page that water levels had come down in a few affected areas.
Authorities, however, warned people to remain vigilant as “extreme weather” was expected to continue until Tuesday.
Dwikorita Karnawati, head of the Meteorology, Climatology and Geophysics Agency, said heavy rainfall might continue until mid-February. to
RESCUERS evacuate a boy from a flooded area in Jakarta, Indonesia, yesterday.