Weather Agency Warns of More Rain in Jakarta in Coming Week

Resident wade through heavily flooded streets in Jakarta on January 19, 2014. (EPA Photo/Adi Weda)

Resident wade through heavily flooded streets in Jakarta on January 19, 2014. (EPA Photo/Adi Weda)

Heavy rains throughout the Greater Jakarta area left parts of the metropolis flooded on Sunday, displacing tens of thousands of residents as water levels reached critical levels at several flood gates on Saturday evening.

Sutopo Purwo Nugroho, a spokesman for the National Disaster Mitigation Agency (BNPB), said on Sunday that nearly 30,800 people had been evacuated from 140 affected areas. He added that some 48,200 individuals from 10,520 families were directly affected by the flooding across 30 subdistricts.

Sutopo said there was an urgent need for blankets and mattresses at a temporary shelter in Bidara Cina, East Jakarta, where 1,900 residents of the wards of Bidara Cina and Kampung Melayu are currently staying.

Floods were reported in Daan Mogot and Grogol, in West Jakarta; Gunung Sahari and Karet Tengsin, in Central Jakarta; Jatinegara and Kampung Melayu, in East Jakarta; and Cawang, Kalibata and Tebet, in South Jakarta, according to the Jakarta Police. The worst floods were reported in North Jakarta, with vast swaths of Kelapa Gading, Pluit and Penjaringan inundated.

“Heavy rains, especially in northern part of Jakarta, have increased water levels in rivers,” Sutopo said. “The condition is causing worse flooding in northern parts of Jakarta.”

Water levels at several flood gates reached critical levels on Saturday night as heavy rain fell for hours, swelling the city’s already dangerously swollen rivers. By Sunday the Karet and Angke Hulu flood gates remained on the highest level of the four-point alert, while the Manggarai flood gate in South Jakarta was lowered to level two.

TransJakarta bus services were suspended along Corridor III, running from Kalideres in West Jakarta to Harmoni in Central Jakarta, and Corridor XII, from Pluit to Tanjung Priok in North Jakarta, while service along half of the network’s other routes were delayed, according to @BLUTransJakarta, TransJakarta’s official Twitter account.

Several subdistricts in the satellite cities of Tangerang and Bekasi were also inundated over the weekend.

Flooding was also reported along a stretch of the Sedyatmo toll road, the main route for those headed to Soekarno-Hatta International Airport, with traffic being diverted to the outer lanes that are a meter higher than the lower ones.

The elevated lanes were built following flash floods in 2007.

Meanwhile, Heru Widodo, an official with the Agency for the Assessment and Application of Technology (BPPT), blamed the Jakarta administration for not authorizing cloud-seeding efforts in time to diffuse the intensity of the rains.

He said the BPPT and city officials had met in November to discuss the matter, and the BPPT had stressed the need for the measures to be carried out by early December at the latest for best results.

“But the authorization was only given on January 13, when it’s already the peak of the rains,” Heru said.

Much of the city was also hit by power outages as state electricity company Perusahaan Listrik Negara shut down 433 substations as of Sunday morning to prevent electrocution in flood-hit areas, according to Vivanews.com. Among the affected areas were Lenteng Agung, Bandengan, Kebon Jeruk, Cempaka Putih, Kramat Jati, Jatinegara, Menteng, Cengkareng, Tanjung Priok and Pondok Kopi.

“When the conditions improve, PLN will restore the electricity supply,” said Roxy Swagerino, a spokesman for PLN’s Jakarta and Tangerang operations, who added that the outages were conducted to ensure the public’s safety.

Heavy rains began to fall early last week in Bogor, upstream from the capital.

Floodwaters claimed seven lives by Saturday, the Jakarta Disaster Mitigation Agency (BPBD) said.

The rains are expected to continue through the coming week, with the heaviest rainfall predicted for Sunday and Thursday, according to the Meteorology, Climatology and Geophysics Agency (BMKG). It predicts the peak of the rainy season to last until early February.

So far precipitation levels are less than last year, when widespread flooding affected much of the capital, killing 20 people and displacing more than 30,000.

Achmad Zukri, the head of the BMKG’s extreme weather early warning division, said the difference this time around was that the rain had fallen in several bursts since New Year’s Eve, whereas in January 2013 it was concentrated over a period of just a few days. Jakarta Globe

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