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Last Updated: Wednesday, 7 February 2007, 11:23 GMT
Jakarta's deadly floods receding
A man wades through floodwaters in Jakarta
Much of Jakarta remains under smelly, dirty water
Jakarta residents displaced by floods that killed at least 50 people have begun returning home, despite much of the city still being under water.

Where the waters have receded, people are being confronted with sodden belongings and wrecked properties, covered with smelly mud.

More than two-thirds of the 340,000 people forced from their homes by the floods remain in temporary shelters.

Officials have warned of diseases such as typhoid, cholera and diarrhoea.

Markets have begun to reopen, with the fewer customers than normal having to wade through water to buy their wares.

Water levels remain high in lower-lying areas close to rivers where many poorer people live.

Power supplies are still cut off, disrupting telecommunications.

Jakarta's planning minister Paskah Suzzeta said the cost of the flooding is thought to be $452m (230m).

Where the waters have receded, a thick layer of smelly mud and debris has been left behind.

"The water is all gone but the smell is awful," one 18-year-old woman told the Associated Press.

Reports speak of the smell of fuel fumes and rotting rubbish in streets where residents were dragging out sodden bedding, carpets and clothing.

Thousands of people at one military medical post have been queuing for medicine to treat diarrhoea, skin and respiratory problems.

Jakarta residents struggle through floodwaters

The clean-up job facing the city is immense, says the BBC's Rebecca Henschke in Jakarta.

The flood waters have created piles of rubbish and debris on residential streets.

"We know it's hard for the residents [to use and drink clean water] under the circumstances, but they have to," said Health Minister Siti Fadilah Supari.

'Natural phenomenon'

The city was already coping with a surge in cases of dengue fever before the floods.

RECENT INDONESIAN DISASTERS
Train crash 16 Jan 2007: At least five die as train falls from bridge in Java
Landslide 12 Jan 2007: Landslide kills at least 16 on island of Sangihe
Plane crash 1 Jan 2007: Passenger plane carrying 102 people crashes in sea west of Sulawesi island
Ferry sinks 30 Dec 2006: More than 350 lost as ferry sinks between Borneo and Java
Stampede 20 Dec 2006: 10 killed, dozens injured in a stampede at Java pop concert
Earthquake 18 Dec 2006: Seven killed, about 100 injured in a quake in Sumatra

An official also said the flooding would complicate efforts to tackle bird flu, which has killed 63 people in Indonesia in the past few years, making it the country worst hit by the disease. Several days of torrential rain caused rivers to burst their banks, sending muddy water up to 3m (10ft) deep into homes and businesses.

The government is facing renewed criticism that it could have done more to prevent this disaster.

"Obviously the city did not learn anything after the last [heavy floods], in 2002," the Jakarta Post said, accusing administrators of delaying the building of a canal to control flooding.

"The government is awful," said resident Augustina Rusli, who had held out on the upper floor of her house with her 10-month old baby.

"We have a neighbour who is sick with cancer but no one has come to rescue her,"

Jakarta's Governor Sutiyoso brushed off criticism, saying the floods were a "natural phenomenon".

JAKARTA FLOODS - THE AFFECTED AREAS
Flood areas map
Between 40% and 75% of Jakarta area affected by flood waters
Eastern area of the city worst affected, with water about 3m deep
Water receded on Monday, but rose again with overnight rain
Up to 340,000 people forced from homes and 36 people killed




VIDEO AND AUDIO NEWS
A desolated Jakarta cleans up as the floods recede



SEE ALSO
Press sees neglect behind Jakarta floods
05 Feb 07 |  Asia-Pacific
Jakarta floods death toll rises
04 Feb 07 |  Asia-Pacific
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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