JAKARTA: Residents of Jakarta and its suburbs spent New Year’s Eve fleeing from the worst flooding the Indonesian capital has experienced in years, with more rainfall than the flood of February 2007 that resulted in 80 deaths and around $400 million of property damage.
Torrential rain pounded the greater Jakarta area on Tuesday and Wednesday morning, submerging residential areas, sweeping away cars, and inundating the runway of one of the city's airports. The floods have already claimed the lives of nine people and displaced thousands of others, authorities said on Wednesday.
Jakarta Governor Anies Baswedan said in a television broadcast that more than 19,000 people have fled their homes and efforts to evacuate those still trapped inside their houses were underway. He said the worst-affected areas were in East Jakarta and South Jakarta.
Residents of #Jakarta and its suburbs spent New Year’s Eve fleeing from the worst flooding the #Indonesian capital has experienced in years
Video: National Disaster Mitigation Agency (BNPB)https://t.co/WXmE7MOi2f pic.twitter.com/DruR35OTBO
— Arab News (@arabnews) January 1, 2020
Agus Wibowo, a spokesman for the National Disaster Mitigation Agency (BNPB), said the floodwater reached a depth of between 30 and 200 centimeters in the greater Jakarta area, including satellites Bekasi and Tangerang.
According to the agency, at least 41 areas in Jakarta, 54 in Bekasi, and eight in neighboring Banten province have been inundated.
“Yesterday’s rainfall was very intense, more intense than normal. As much as 377 millimeters of rainfall was recorded in areas around Halim and East Jakarta. The seawater level also increased, delaying the flow of water from inland out into the sea,” BNPB head Doni Monardo said. Rainfall of 340 millimeters was recorded during 2007’s flood, according to BNPB data.
Greater Jakarta is home to about 30 million people, of whom 10 million are Jakarta residents. One of them, Acum, who lives in Kemang, South Jakarta, told Arab News: “The floods reached about one meter, up to my chest, since the rain started to pour yesterday.”
Komariah, a resident of Tegal Parang, a densely populated neighborhood in a low-lying part of South Jakarta, said that water was up to her neck. “The water went up quickly and by 3 a.m. we were inundated. It has now subsided, and we are left with cleaning the mud,” she said.
Video clips and photos circulating on social media platforms and messaging apps show that both poor and upscale neighborhoods have been affected. State electricity company PLN had to cut off power supplies to flooded neighborhoods, while commuter trains connecting Jakarta with its satellite cities have been temporarily grounded.
State-owned airport operator Angkasa Pura II suspended operations at Halim Perdanakusuma Airport in East Jakarta. All flights have been diverted to the city's main airport, Soekarno Hatta International in Banten.
Forecasts suggest that extreme weather will continue to affect Jakarta, the rest of Java, and Indonesia’s eastern provinces for the remainder of the week.