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Indonesia floods kill 20, nearly 200,000 homeless JAKARTA - Floods in the Indonesian capital have killed at least 20 people and made nearly 200,000 homeless, with the deluge of muddy brown water up to 4 metres (13 feet) deep in some areas, officials said on Sunday. Downpours over Jakarta weakened at the weekend, but heavy rain in upland areas sent more water into already swollen rivers criss-crossing the low-lying city.

From the air the capital Jakarta looks like a river vilage.
From the air the capital Jakarta looks like a river vilage.
Floods are common in Indonesia during the rainy season, but the devastation of recent days has been the worst in five years, and meteorology officials have warned that the city could suffer another week of heavy rains. Officials are also concerned that the displacement of so many people and water contamination could bring disease in a city already struggling with a surge in cases of dengue fever.

"Twenty have died since the first day of flooding. Seven were dragged under by strong currents, nine were electrocuted and the others because of sickness," I Ketut Untung Yoga Ana, a Jakarta police spokesman, said. A key sluice gate on a canal that runs through central Jakarta was opened because of heavy run-off from upstream, an official said, increasing the flooding in the city.

Rustam Pakaya, a health ministry official, said workers were distributing eight tonnes of baby food, milk and other food. In many parts of the city, sandbags were being prepared in a bid to shield buildings. Some flood victims sheltered in the lobby of the five-star Borobudur Hotel. "This is the first time flooding has hit my area. People have evacuated to the mosque," said Taufik Hamdani, a 48-year-old resident in Matraman, central Jakarta.

He said he planned to take his family to a safer location. Irvan, an official at the city crisis centre, said the flood alert status was at maximum, with water levels at about 2-3 metres but up to 4 metres near rivers and canals. "We are evacuating communities living in critical locations," Irvan said.

Stocking up on essentials

An official at the central government's natural disaster centre said that, as of Saturday evening, data showed 189,665 people were homeless in the capital and surrounding areas. The official said public transport in Jakarta remained disrupted and some train lines had been cut outside the capital.

The floods also caused major power blackouts and telephone lines were down in some parts of the city of 9 million as flooding affected underground cables. Customers stocked up on essentials in one popular supermarket in Jakarta, clearing supplies of some items. "Empty store, mister," said a butcher behind one nearly bare counter.

In Kampung Melayu in the east of the capital, some 2,000 people were forced to take shelter in the street, among them a baby who was pulled out of the floods on a tyre by his mother. The floods have affected both slum areas and posh housing estates in the city which were built on former swampland and remain vulnerable to flooding.

Environment Minister Rachmat Witoelar blamed the heavy flooding on excessive construction in Jakarta's water catchment areas, the Jakarta Post newspaper reported. Jakarta Governor Sutiyoso said building of luxurious villas and housing complexes around the city of Bogor had also quickened water run-off into rivers flowing to the capital, the paper said.


Link to related event Related event:
Floods hit West Java

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03 February 2007 · Indonesia floods leave 100,000 homeless
03 February 2007 · Floods strike Jakarta, West Java, thousands stranded
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Posted in Flooding @ 05 February 2007 02:14 CET by Jeroen · 'Blog' RSS feed · permalink






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