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Last Updated: Sunday, 4 February 2007, 20:16 GMT
Jakarta floods death toll rises
Large swathes of Jakarta are under water

At least 20 people have been killed and 340,000 made homeless by massive floods that have swept through the Indonesian capital, Jakarta.

Three days of torrential rain have caused rivers to burst their banks, sending muddy water up to 3m (10ft) deep into homes and businesses.

Authorities say the city of nine million people is now on its highest level of alert.

The floods are said to be the worst to hit Jakarta for five years.

Meteorologists have warned the downpour is likely to continue for another week, and with heavy rains falling on hilly regions to the south, more flooding is threatened.

Power cuts

Rising floodwaters have cut water supplies and communications to parts of the city and forced medical teams to use boats and helicopters to reach many of those left stranded.

More than 670,000 people have been left without electricity.

Map of Indonesia

Staff manning a key floodgate in the east of the capital said it had failed and the water flowing in had caused the main canal to burst its banks.

Some main roads have been closed and patients in some hospitals moved to upper floors.

The death toll attributed to the floods has continued to rise since the downpour began at the start of the month.

"Twenty have died since the first day of flooding. Seven were dragged under by strong currents, nine were electrocuted and the others because of sickness," I Ketut Untung Yoga Ana, a Jakarta police spokesman, told Reuters news agency.

Many of the homeless are sheltering in schools and mosques, while others are refusing to leave their partially flooded homes.

Melissa Whyte told the BBC that houses in her area, Cilandak, were "totally washed out and... flooded with up to three metres of water".

"After living here for 12 years I have never seen the floods as bad as this," she said.

Roof-top rescue

In parts of the city, sandbags are being prepared to protect buildings from the floodwaters, while some residents have taken refuge in the lobby of the five-star Borobudur Hotel, reports say.

This time the flood is a disaster - it's even worse than 2002
Billy, Jakarta resident

Thousands of extra police have been deployed to help with evacuation efforts.

Television pictures showed residents being evacuated from their roofs and second floors of their homes.

Mr Ana said police had built more than 200 rafts to make up for a shortage of rubber dinghies.

The water is heavily polluted and, with a recent outbreak of dengue fever, there is great concern about the spread of more disease, says the BBC's Rebecca Henschke in Jakarta

The central government is blaming poor urban planning for the disaster, our correspondent says.

One Jakarta resident, Elan Manoppo, told the BBC there was "no integrated development plan" for the capital, adding: "Most of the city's drainage systems are not taken care of."


Your comments:

Having cycled around the city and seen the flooding first hand, the biggest concern is the fact that there are hundreds of children playing in the flood water. Roads are closed, telecommunications are affected and office workers are unable to get to their places of work. With further flooding expected, the emergency services in Jakarta need to be on high alert.
Phil Demack, Jakarta, Indonesia

I was trapped in traffic at Jl Gatot Subroto on Friday and it took me four hours to go to Le Meridien hotel which is only about 3 km away. Because the main roads are blocked we were forced to use the toll way and funnily enough we still have to pay the toll! I don't see any police or government people or any public announcement to advice us where we can avoid the traffic and floods.
Nurita Mohammed, Jakarta Indonesia

I was on holiday visiting friends when the rains started. I set out for the airport for a journey that might take one and a half hours. It took six and a half hours and I missed my plane. The lack of readiness for an event that the government knows will happen was demonstrated by only one man on the airport approach road holding a small pump trying to pump thousands of gallons of water back into the river. What chance do these people who have had their homes flooded have with that sort of response??
Keith Jackson, Dubai

I'm in Sunter, near Kelapa Gading which is flooded worse than 2002. We all have to pay up to rp. 500,000 for evacuation. There were no officials to help and the toll free number was not answered. During the height of rain there was no announcement from the local housing security to instruct the neighbourhood for an immediate evacuation and we had to risk our lives just to reach the nearest hotel.
Sonu Bhojwani, Jakarta, Indonesia

My son, Matthew Wentzell and his fiancée Marie Barraud live in Kalapa Gading, East Jakarta. We have not been able to get in contact for several days. He teaches English at the University. Is there any means of getting information? We are frantic.
Kathie Wentzell, Middleton, Nova Scotia, Canada

Flooded everywhere... we live in a 32 storey building... and all our surroundings are pretty much submerged.
Shireen McClymont, Kuningan, Jakarta

Houses around my area (Cilandak) have been totally washed out and house are flooded with up to three metres of water. All the furniture and items have been destroyed leaving thousands of people homeless. After living here for 12 years, I have never seen the floods as bad as this.
Melissa Whyte, Jakarta



VIDEO AND AUDIO NEWS
Aerial footage of the flood devastation



SEE ALSO
In pictures: Jakarta flooding
04 Feb 07 |  In Pictures
Deadly landslide hits Indonesia
12 Jan 07 |  Asia-Pacific
Indonesia steps up flood relief
27 Dec 06 |  Asia-Pacific
Country profile: Indonesia
18 Oct 06 |  Country profiles

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