Thousands caught in floods in Indonesia’s sinking capital

People walk through a flooded road after heavy rain in Jakarta on February 25, 2020. Dozens of Jakarta neighborhoods were flooded February 25 after torrential rains pounded Indonesia’s capital, less than two months after nearly 70 people were killed in some of the megacity’s worst flooding in years. (AFP)
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Updated 25 February 2020

Thousands caught in floods in Indonesia’s sinking capital

  • Indonesia’s meteorological agency is predicting rain for the next two weeks
  • The flooding has highlighted Indonesia’s infrastructure problems

JAKARTA, Indonesia: Floods that have crippled much of Indonesia’s capital worsened Tuesday, inundating thousands of homes and buildings, including the presidential palace, and paralyzing transport networks, officials and witnesses said.

Overnight rains caused more rivers to burst their banks in greater Jakarta starting Sunday, sending muddy water up to 1.5 meters (5 feet) deep into more residential and commercial areas, said Agus Wibowo, the National Disaster Mitigation Agency’s spokesman.

Floodwaters entered parts of Indonesia’s presidential palace complex Tuesday morning but the situation was brought under control with water pumps, said Bey Machmudin, an official at the Presidential Office.

The heavy downpour that hit the capital on Sunday had submerged the state-run Cipto Mangunkusumo hospital, the country’s largest hospital, damaging medical machines and equipment, Wibowo said.

Wibowo said the floods on Tuesday inundated scores of districts and left more than 300 people homeless, forced authorities to cut off electricity and paralyzed transportation, including commuter lines, as floodwaters reached as high as 1.5 meters (5 feet) in places.

Television footage showed soldiers and rescuers in rubber boats struggling to evacuate children and the elderly who were holding out on the roofs of their squalid houses.

Indonesia’s meteorological agency is predicting rain for the next two weeks.

The flooding has highlighted Indonesia’s infrastructure problems.

Jakarta is home to 10 million people, with a total of 30 million in its greater metropolitan area. It is prone to earthquakes and flooding and is rapidly sinking due to uncontrolled extraction of groundwater. Congestion is also estimated to cost the economy $6.5 billion a year.

President Joko Widodo announced in August that the capital will move to a site in sparsely populated East Kalimantan province on Borneo island, known for rainforests and orangutans.

Severe flooding and landslides that hit greater Jakarta early last month killed more than 60 people, displaced hundreds of thousands and forced an airport to close.
Jakarta Gov. Anies Baswedan, who was criticized when massive floods struck the city last month, blamed widespread deforestation in the southern hills, saying it had destroyed water catchment areas.

Seasonal downpours cause dozens of landslides and flash floods each year in Indonesia, a sprawling archipelago of 17,000 islands where millions of people live in mountainous areas or near fertile plains.


Minneapolis braces for more riots, arson following police killing of Afro-American George Floyd

Updated 30 May 2020

Minneapolis braces for more riots, arson following police killing of Afro-American George Floyd

CHICAGO: Minneapolis exploded into riots and arson this week after an African-American suspected of handling counterfeit money was killed on Monday during his arrest by two city police officers.

Videos on social media showed an officer placing his knee on George Floyd’s neck as he was handcuffed and being restrained on the street by the kerb. The 46-year-old said that he could not breathe, but police insisted that Floyd was “resisting arrest” and had to be forcibly restrained.

The officer who was seen kneeling on Floyd’s neck was arrested on Friday and charged with murder.

Floyd was pronounced dead at the scene and his family immediately called for an independent probe.

His family turned to civil rights attorney Benjamin Crump, who said the family’s first concern was to seek an autopsy independent of the police because of a lack of trust in law enforcement and to give their deceased family member a proper funeral.

“Is it two justice systems in America?” Crump said as he addressed the media. “One for black America and one for white America? We can’t have that. We have to have equal justice for the United States of America and that’s what I think the protesters are crying out for.”

Protests spread across the country and turned violent as arson destroyed property, including the police station where the police officers were assigned.

President Donald Trump denounced the rioters as “thugs” and warned that he might send in the military “to take control.” 

Minneapolis Police handed the investigation into Floyd’s death to the FBI and US Justice Department on Thursday night. Officials from the FBI and US Justice Department promised that the probe would be “robust and meticulous.”

The media’s role in the protests came sharply into focus when, early on Friday, CNN’s Omar Jimenez was arrested along with his TV crew.

CNN anchor Alisyn Camerota, who looked on as her colleague was being arrested, told viewers: “If you are just tuning in you are watching our correspondent Omar Jimenez being arrested by state police in Minnesota. We are not sure why our correspondent is being arrested.”