Hundreds forced to evacuate as monsoon floods slam Indonesian capital

JAKARTA – Severe floods in several areas of the Indonesian capital forced more than a thousand people to flee their homes on Saturday. The country’s meteorological agency warned that conditions would continue for next week.

About 1,380 Jakarta residents were evacuated from the southern and eastern parts of the city – home to 10 million people – after floods reached heights of up to 1.8 meters in some areas, said Sabdo Kurnianto, the acting head of the civil protection agency from Jakarta, in a statement. He said no victims had been reported.

On social media, people posted photos of residents wading through shoulder-high, muddy water, cars that were almost completely submerged, and search teams evacuating elderly residents in rubber rafts during the peak monsoon season.

“According to the latest data, two hundred neighborhoods are affected,” Jakarta Governor Anies Baswedan told local television early on Saturday, adding that more than two dozen evacuation centers have been prepared across the city.

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The floods come at a time when Indonesia is already grappling with the highest number of cases and deaths from Covid-19 in Southeast Asia and an economic recession.

The Indonesian Meteorological Agency (BMKG) has warned that the heaviest rain of the season could fall in and around the densely populated capital in the coming days. Extreme weather, including heavy rainfall, thunder, and high winds, is expected for next week.

“These are critical times that we have to take into account,” said Dwikorita Karnawati, head of the BMKG.

“Jakarta and the surrounding area are still in the high season of the rainy season, which is expected to last until late February or early March.”

The BMKG said Jakarta would be on alert for the next four days. Data from the meteorological agency shows that it has rained heavily in the past 24 hours.

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