Floods paralyse Indonesian capital of Jakarta
Indonesia's army deployed rubber boats in the capital's business district today to rescue people trapped in floods that inundated much of the city of 14 million people. The president was pictured standing in water up to his shins — his trousers rolled up — at the palace waiting for the arrival of Argentina's leader on a state visit.
The floods were the most widespread to hit Jakarta in recent memory. Authorities said at least four people were killed and 20,000 evacuated. Many more homes were inundated following around five hours of heavy overnight rain that coursed through rivers already swollen by a long monsoon season.
Few areas in the city were spared, from wealthy suburbs to riverside slums and gleaming downtown business blocks. Offices and schools were deserted and traffic ground to a halt. The international airport was operating normally, but travelers were finding it hard to get there.
"This is horrible," said Yanitha Damayanti, a bank teller stranded downtown. "For the first time in my life, downtown Jakarta has flooded."
The city has long been prone to floods, but successive governments have done little to mitigate the threat.
Deforestation in the hills to the south of the city, chaotic planning and the rubbish that clogs the hundreds of rivers and waterways that crisscross the city are some of the factors behind the floods. The city's vulnerability exposes the country's poor infrastructure even as it has posted impressive economic growth in recent years.
President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono and the country's foreign minister were pictured standing in water up to their shins at the presidential palace waiting for the arrival of Argentina's President Christina Kirchner, who is on a state visit. The meeting of the two leaders apparently went ahead.
"I have no problem with the palace being flooded, "Yudhoyono said. "The most important thing is the people are protected."
In some places, water levels were up to 2 meters (6 1/2 feet) high. Seen from above, the main road through the heart of the city resembled a muddy river. Even as authorities struggled to rescue those trapped and provide them food and shelter, some were thinking of the economic cost.
"This is an extraordinary disaster," said Syamsuddin Basri. "I had to cancel many important business deals."
- 1 Rarest Beanie Baby bought for just £10 at car boot sale could be sold for £62,500 on eBay
- 2 Katie Hopkins and The Sun editor are reported to police for incitement to racial hatred following migrant boat column
- 3 Katie Hopkins has just written a piece so hateful that it might give Hitler pause – why was it published?
- 4 Australian student Tommy Connolly, 23, adopts his pregnant, homeless 17-year-old cousin to give her a chance at 'a better life'
- 5 Cancel Sky at your peril: man spends 96 minutes in chat but fails to get rid of service
Rarest Beanie Baby bought for just £10 at car boot sale could be sold for £62,500 on eBay
Katie Hopkins and The Sun editor are reported to police for incitement to racial hatred following migrant boat column
'Jihadi John': Isis executioner Mohammed Emwazi wanted to wage jihad in Somalia until his friends were betrayed and killed by al-Shabaab
Parma, Missouri: 80 per cent of town's police quit after first black mayor is elected
Australian student Tommy Connolly, 23, adopts his pregnant, homeless 17-year-old cousin to give her a chance at 'a better life'
If I’m being racially abused I don’t need a stranger with a saviour complex to rescue me
The only black face in the Ukip manifesto is on the page about overseas aid
Ukip is the only main political party to not address LGBT rights in its manifesto
Food banks: One million Britons will soon be using them, according to Trussell Trust
Religion isn't growing, it is becoming vigorous in its demise, says philosopher AC Grayling
BBC election debate: The one photo that summed up the whole 90-minute leaders debate
£14000 - £18000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An Office Administrator is requ...
£12000 - £40000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Due to expansion and growth of ...
£40000 - £50000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Senior PHP Developer position with a...
Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: An Operations Leader is required to join a lea...