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Thursday, 31 January, 2002, 08:56 GMT
Jakarta flood toll rises
Jakarta flooded street
Power has been cut to some areas to prevent electrocutions

The number of people killed during two days of widespread flooding in Indonesia has grown to at least 33.

Days of lashing rain subsided to sporadic showers on Thursday but, with forecasts for continued and increasingly heavy rain over the next month, government officials are warning that the disaster is far from over.

So far, almost 200,000 residents have been left homeless as torrential downpours have swept through the capital, Jakarta, the resort island of Bali, and sections of the islands of Java, Madura, Sumatra, and Borneo.

The people are leaving their houses in search of safety and dryness

Jakarta resident
Officials said between 15-20% of Jakarta was underwater on Wednesday.

Reports said up to four metres (13 feet) of muddy brown water remained in some parts of the city.

The flooding is the worst since 1996 when at least 30 people were killed in Jakarta.

Most of the deaths have occurred in Jakarta and surrounding towns but local media reports say eight people have died in towns in eastern Java and at least five have been killed on the resort island of Bali.

Traffic delays

Television pictures have been showing rescuers on makeshift rafts helping women and babies down from rooftops. Fleeing residents are staying in schools, mosques and offices.

Indonesian youths help a motorist to cross a flooded street with a makeshift raft in Jakarta, 30 January 2002
People have been using makeshifts rafts to escape
"The people are leaving their houses in search of safety and dryness," one resident told AP news agency.

Police and local officials have been helping the rescue effort.

There have been long traffic jams on the main roads, and several flights have been delayed.

Environmentalists have blamed the flooding on years of bad city planning, which has led to building-work on green-field sites. That has caused more rain to run into the city's many rivers rather than soak into the ground, experts said.

The flooding was probably made worse by drains blocked with rubbish.

Flooding has also caused extensive damage in West Kalimantan - the Indonesian part of the island of Borneo, as well as large parts of East Java, including the provincial capital Surabaya.

The BBC's Richard Galpin in Jakarta
"Many families have been stranded by the floods"
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