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Jakarta floods force minister to take ojek JAKARTA - Torrential rainfall flooded parts of Jakarta early Wednesday (19/1/05), causing severe traffic congestion that forced Manpower and Transmigration Minister Fahmi Idris to take an ojek (motorbike taxi) to work. Idris left his house near Jalan Warung Buncit, South Jakarta, in his chauffeur-driven Volvo limousine supplied by the state, but the vehicle soon became trapped in the gridlock in the floodwaters. The minister then exited his stationary vehicle and hailed an ojek to take him to a meeting at the vice presidential office, detikcom online news portal reported. The ride on the Suzuki Thunder motorbike reportedly cost the minister Rp50,000 ($5.45) – well above the usual fare for such a journey.
Idris, a senior member of Golkar Party, was in a hurry to beat the traffic because he had to make the keynote speech at his ministry’s national conference, which was opened by Vice President Jusuf Kalla at 10am. Upon the minister’s arrival at the vice presidential office on Jalan Medan Merdeka Selatan, Central Jakarta, presidential security guards rushed up and denied the motorbike entry, unaware of the passenger’s identity. They soon allowed Idris to enter after he identified himself.
Elsewhere in Jakarta, frustrated morning commuters had to spend up to several hours to make journeys that usually only take about 30 minutes. Numerous motorists opted to make matters worse by ignoring traffic lights. Traffic police, who can often be seen extorting money from motorists for minor traffic violations when weather is more clement, had to get amid the water to sort out the congestion.
In East Jakarta, hundreds of people in Kampung Melayu and West Jatinegara were evacuated to safer areas after the Ciliwung River overflowed and inundated their houses, with water levels exceeding 70 centimeters. Local officials had to use inflated inner tubes of tires to evacuate residents from streets that were too narrow for rubber boats to enter. West Jatinegara neighborhood head Lutfi said the evacuees were taken to five tents erected at the nearby Santa Maria School and they were being provided with food and medicine.
Jakarta Police chief Inspector General Firman Gani and Jakarta Military Command chief Major General Agustadi Sasongko Purnomo inspected Jatinegara’s Pulo village, which was among the areas worst hit by the floods. “Police will establish command posts in these flood-hit areas and prevent criminal actions, such as looting and theft,” said Gani. Purnomo said he would also deploy a platoon of officers to the areas and send in additional troops if the floodwaters extended further.
But after torrential downpours since Tuesday, rainfall had largely ceased by Wednesday afternoon and floodwaters began subsiding in most areas of the city. Suffering from low elevation and the absence of an adequate drainage system, Jakarta invariably floods during the rainy season, which peaks in January and February. In February 2002, at least 50 people died in some of the city’s worst floods on record.



Posted in Flooding @ 20 January 2005 00:02 CET by Jeroen · 'Blog' RSS feed · permalink






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