Deadly Flash Floods in Indonesia’s Capital Leave Thousands Homeless


JAKARTA, Indonesia — Flash floods killed at least 30 people and left tens of thousands homeless in Jakarta, the Indonesian capital, the authorities said on Thursday after the city’s most intense period of rainfall since record keeping began more than 20 years ago.

On Tuesday, parts of the city recorded more than a foot of rain, according to the country’s Meteorology, Climatology and Geophysics Agency. The rain persisted on Wednesday and more was predicted this week for the metro area, one of Asia’s largest urban districts and home to more than 30 million people.

At least 35,500 people had been displaced by Thursday, according to the Ministry of Social Affairs, as teams of emergency workers sought to clear flooded streets and repair downed power lines.

More than 100 rescue workers from the country’s emergency relief agency and several military units had been deployed in the capital, said Budi Purnama, the operations director of National Search and Rescue Agency.

Mr. Budi said the rescue workers were struggling in city streets that had been turned into rushing rivers.

“The water discharge is very fast, the current is so strong that it even pushes parked vehicles,” he said.

When Baby Hanna Siregar, a marketer who lives in Jakarta, went to sleep at her brother’s home at 3 a.m. Wednesday, everything “was still O.K.,” she said. But just three hours later, her “brother’s car was already one-third submerged.”

The authorities said the extreme weather coupled with delays in flood alleviation projects were responsible for the week’s chaos.

“The rain falling on New Year’s Eve in the western and northern parts of Java was very extreme,” the meteorology agency said in a statement, referring to the Java Island, Indonesia’s most populous. “This rain is not ordinary rain.”

President Joko Widodo said in a tweet on Thursday that delays in flood control infrastructure projects since 2017 were responsible, and blamed “land acquisition” issues.

Muktita Suhartono reported from Jakarta, and Russell Goldman from Hong Kong.





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