Jakarta floods: ‘Not ordinary rain’, say officials
Jakarta: At least 21 people have died in flooding in the Indonesian capital, Jakarta, after the city had its most intense rainfall for at least 24 years.
The Meteorology, Climatology and Geophysics Agency (BMKG) measured 377 millimetres of rainfall in a day at an airport in East Jakarta.
That’s the most most rain in a single day since at least 1996, when records supplied by the agency began.
“The rain falling on New Year’s Eve… is not ordinary rain,” said the agency.
The agency said the intensity of the rain was due to several factors including the monsoon season as well as a high amount of water vapour in the air affecting cloud formations over Java island.
The heavy rainfall is expected to continue until the weekend.
Elsewhere in East Jakarta, 335mm was recorded, while in Bekasi, further east, 259mm fell.
Rainfall above 150mm per day is considered extreme by the agency.
The intense rain began on New Year’s Eve and continued through the night leading to parts of the city being submerged and landslides on the outskirts.
The victims ranged in age from 8 to 82. Some died of hypothermia, while others drowned or were killed by landslides. Two of the dead are from Lebak, south-west of the capital.
One 16-year-old boy was electrocuted by a power line.
The electricity has been switched off in many districts of Jakarta as a precaution, and some railway lines are also shut.
At least 62,000 people have been evacuated out of Jakarta.
On his Twitter page, Indonesian President Joko Widodo blamed delays in flood control infrastructure projects for the severity of the damage.
The death toll is the worst since 2013, when 47 deaths were reported. In 2007, more than 50 were reported killed.
Floods are common in the city around this time of year. They are one of the reasons Mr Widodo plans to move the capital to East Borneo in the next few years.
Jakarta is one of the fastest-sinking cities in the world and experts say it could be entirely submerged by 2050.