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Indonesia floods begin to recede amid disease risk JAKARTA - Flood waters receded in parts of Indonesia's capital on Tuesday, but huge areas remained submerged heightening the risk of disease amid questions over why more had not been done to prevent the disaster. Businesses were also trying to assess the economic impact of the floods, which have caused blackouts, cut telecommunications and made many key roads impassable.

Top politicians have also been visiting flood victims, as officials traded blame and the media asked why few lessons seemed to have been learnt after equally bad floods five years ago. Tini Suryanti of the Jakarta health department said medical staff were trying to focus on sanitation to prevent disease. "We must be alert over cockroaches and rats. People should clean themselves with soap." Supplies of antibiotics were running low in the city, the Jakarta Post newspaper reported.

The number of displaced people edged down to 290,000 from 340,000 as the floodwaters subsided, said Eko Prasetyanto, an official at the National Coordinator Agency for disaster management. The floods have killed at least 36 people, Jakarta police spokesman, Ketut Untung Yoga Ana said. Most had either drowned or been electrocuted.

President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono has visited flood-hit areas, but critics said more needed to be done. "It is only a courtesy from his part to show he cares about the plight of the little people. What he needs to show is not that, but how he can bring fundamental changes to the right target," said legislator and former minister Muhammad Hikam. He said Yudhoyono, who is still riding high in opinion polls, needed to deliver on his promises to have a chance in the next elections in 2009.

Helwi, a 35-year-old street vendor, who has been living in a tent alongside rail tracks since last week when water inundated his Central Jakarta house, agreed. "Our officials can only talk about caring for the little people. We want proof," he said.

Environmentalists blamed poor planning in a city that has seen a huge construction boom since the financial crisis of the late 1990s. "This disaster could have been anticipated but the government does not have a plan for a worst-case scenario. Over the past 30 years water catchment areas in Jakarta have been reduced from about 70 percent to less than 10 percent," Torry Kuswardono of the leading green group, Walhi, told Reuters.

Planning Minister Paskah Suzetta put an initial estimate of the cost of the floods at 4.1 trillion rupiah (350 million euro). The city's downtown appeared to be relatively flood-free on Tuesday, although muddy flood water can appear and recede quickly as run-off from upland areas runs into rivers in the city.

Mohamad Sulistyo of the flood crisis centre said floodwater remained up to 3 metres (10 ft) deep in the Kampung Melayu district in the east of the capital. "Jakarta has 44 districts and 40 are flooded," he said. There has been some concern the floods could fan inflation, but the central bank as expected lowered its key interest rate on Tuesday, the ninth reduction in less than a year. The rupiah and Jakarta stocks have been fairly steady.

"It might cause a bit of a slowdown in the macro-economy in the first stage. But that would be followed by reconstruction and additional demand," Takahira Ogawa at Standard & Poor's ratings agency told Reuters in Seoul.


Link to related event Related event:
Floods hit West Java

Related blog entries (category 'Flooding') Related blog entries (category 'Flooding'):
06 February 2007 · More rain adds to misery in Indonesia's capital
06 February 2007 · United Nations ready to assist flood-stricken Indonesia
05 February 2007 · Floods hit some 75% of Jakarta, 25 killed
05 February 2007 · High water level halts evacuation of flood victims
05 February 2007 · Dengue kills 75 in Indonesia in January
05 February 2007 · Jakartans warned more rain on the way
05 February 2007 · Situation report: Floods Jakarta, Bekasi, Tangerang and Banten
04 February 2007 · Indonesia to be allowed access to militant Hambali


Posted in Flooding @ 07 February 2007 02:36 CET by Jeroen · 'Blog' RSS feed · permalink






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