A father escorts his son as they evacuate a flooded area in
Jakarta. REUTERS/Enny Nuraheni
Heavy monsoon rain has triggered severe flooding in large
swathes of the Indonesian capital, Jakarta, bringing the city
to a halt with many government offices and businesses forced to
close because staff could not get to work.
At least 20,000 people were forced from their homes in the
capital and weather officials warned the rain could get worse
over the next few days.
"Rain will continue to fall in the greater Jakarta area ...
the potential for flooding remains," a spokesman for the
Meteorology Climatology Meteorology and Geophysics Agency
told Reuters. He said rain was expected to remain heavy in
mountains above Jakarta, often the source of floodwater.
Four people were reported to have been killed, according to
the National Disaster Prevention Agency, which urged
residents to stay at home to reduce traffic congestion on
Torrential rain was reported across much of the country,
including the main island of Java and heavily agricultural
area of southern Sumatra.
However, officials said there had been no reports of any
serious damage to key crops such as rice, sugar and palm oil.
An estimated more than 175 mm (7 inches) of rain fell in one
part of west Jakarta between 7 a.m. and midday.
"In 30 years of my life here it has never flooded, ever. This
is the very first time," said Ninuk, 30, a resident of
Floods even forced the country's anti-corruption agency to
move some of its most prominent prison inmates, including a
former deputy head of the central bank, to a notorious
women's prison, Pondok Bambu, in east Jakarta, a spokesman
The flooding will put pressure on the capital's popular new
governor, Joko Widodo, who came to office last October with
promises to work to fix a huge array of basic infrastructure
problems that bedevil the city of about 10 million people.
"The government has to do something to prevent floods ... If
it needs to build stronger dykes, then build them," said
Syaiful Bakhri, a taxi driver whose car was stuck in the
In the centre of Jakarta, where streets are jammed at the
best of times, long lines of idled cars waited for waist-deep
water to recede. An inflatable dinghy provided by emergency
services ferried people to safety across water dividing the
heart of the city.
The city's main airport was open but many roads leading to it
were reportedly blocked. Most commuter trains and buses were
The Jakarta Stock Exchange did open but trading was light.
Flooding was even reported at the presidential palace,
forcing the postponement of a meeting between President
Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono and his visiting Argentine
counterpart, Cristina Fernandez.