Floods in Jakarta recede as death toll tops 30Archive
JAKARTA: Residents of Indonesia’s capital who had been forced into shelters by widespread flooding began returning to their homes on Thursday as waters started to recede, though the death toll from the disaster jumped to 30.
Monsoon rains and rising rivers submerged at least 182 neighborhoods in greater Jakarta starting on Wednesday and caused landslides in the Bogor and Depok districts on the city’s outskirts.
Jakarta Governor Anies Bawesdan said much of the water had receded by Thursday evening and the number of displaced people at temporary shelters had fallen to about 5,000 from 19,000. Officials had earlier said 35,000 people were in shelters across the greater metropolitan area.
Those returning to their homes found streets covered in mud and debris. Cars that had been parked in driveways were swept away, landing upside down in parks or piled up in narrow alleys. Sidewalks were strewn with sandals, pots and pans and old photographs.
Authorities took advantage of the receding waters to clear away mud and remove piles of wet garbage from the streets. Electricity was restored to tens of thousands of residences and businesses.
At their peak, the floods had inundated thousands of homes and buildings, forced authorities to cut off electricity and water and paralysed transport networks, National Disaster Mitigation Agency spokesman Agus Wibowo said. Floodwaters reached as high as 2.5 meters (more than 8 feet) in places.
Wibowo said the number of people killed in the disaster had climbed to 30.
It was the worst flooding since 2013, when 47 people were killed after Jakarta was inundated by monsoon rains.
Jakarta’s Halim Perdanakusumah domestic airport reopened on Thursday after operations were suspended when flood water submerged its runway, said Muhammad Awaluddin, the president director of PT.
In Jakarta’s satellite cities of Bekasi and Tangerang, where rivers had burst their banks, large areas remain inundated.
Residents of Bekasi waded through water up to their necks or floated on makeshift rafts carrying clothes and other salvaged possessions. Some scrambled onto roofs to await rescue from soldiers and emergency workers in rubber dinghies.
“The government is awful and the rescue effort is too slow,” said Imas Narulita, who spent 36 hours on the second floor of her suburban house with her 6-month-old baby.
Published in Dawn, January 3rd, 2020