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Major floods hit Indonesian capital Jakarta for second time this year


Torrential rain has inundated Indonesian capital Jakarta on Tuesday, February 25, 2020, paralyzing wide areas of the city as rescue teams used boats to evacuate people. This was the second time severe flooding hit the capital, following the devastating heavy downpour in January which killed 66 people and displaced about 175 000.

Major streets were inundated with muddy floodwater, with the Bekasi area as the worst-affected. Huge swaths of the low-lying city were also badly hit.

The power supply was cut in certain parts of the city. According to state electricity utility Perusahaan Listrik Negara (PLN), electricity was shut off to 1 600 substations for safety measures.

Train services were also disrupted, while authorities warned of road closures due to flooding. In East Jakarta, lines of stranded trucks, as well as motorcycles, were seen in a submerged street.

More than 80 spots of flooding were reported in the capital and the satellite cities of Bekasi and Tangerang, with the water level in the Ciliwung river steadily increasing, according to the National Disaster Mitigation Agency.

Jakarta governor Anies Baswedan said more than 200 neighborhoods were affected. "We are concentrating on mitigation. We have prepared all resources to be deployed."

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Agus Wibowo, a spokesman for the Disaster Mitigation Agency, said it was too early to determine the total number of displaced, as well as the scale of damage in Tuesday's floods.

Wibowo added that the army and police will assist in rescuing people. The city's Search and Rescue Agency said its teams have evacuated hundreds of people on Tuesday as they were aiding people in the west and east. Crews had to use boats to navigate streets that turned into murky rivers.

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Dwikorita Karnawati, head of Indonesia's weather agency, said data showed severe rain events occurring with increasing intensity in the last 30 years, with a higher frequency in the past 10 years.

"This needs to be monitored and managed because it is an indicator of global climate change that has a local impact," she noted.

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The Meteorological, Climatological, and Geophysics Agency forecast heavy rainfall to continue battering the greater Jakarta under the influence of Tropical Cyclone "Esther" in the Gulf of Carpentaria in the Indian Ocean.

In January, major flooding hit the city, displacing nearly 175 000. At least 66 people died due to weather-related incidents such as drowning, electrocution, hypothermia, and landslides.

Featured image credit: BNPB


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