Jakarta Hit by Flooding as Cyclones Trigger Extreme Rainfall

By Tassia Sipahutar and Arys Aditya | February 25, 2020

Parts of Indonesian capital and its suburbs were flooded after two tropical cyclones off the nation’s coast triggered extremely heavy rainfall, inundating houses in low-lying areas and forcing evacuation of hundreds of residents.

More than 200 spots of flooding were reported in Jakarta and the satellite cities of Bekasi and Tangerang with the water level in Ciliwung river that runs through the capital rising to dangerous level, according to the National Disaster Mitigation Agency.

Heavy rainfall may continue to lash the greater Jakarta area under the influence of tropical cyclone Esther in the Gulf of Carpentaria and Ferdinand in the Indian Ocean, the Meteorological, Climatological and Geophysics Agency said on Twitter. State-owned electricity company PT Perusahaan Listrik Negara said more than 1,600 electrical substations in the flooded areas were shut down temporarily for safety.

At least 60 people were killed and thousands were forced to flee homes early this year in the deadliest flooding to hit Jakarta in more than a decade during which floodwaters rose as high as a single-story house. President Joko Widodo has ordered the relocation of capital to Borneo island as the Jakarta metropolitan area, home to almost 30 million people, is regularly flooded.

The city administration needs to install enough pumps to drain out water from flooded areas in the event of heavy rain while building a giant dike on the northern coastline of Jakarta to keep tides from inundating the capital, said Chay Asdak, a hydrologist at University of Padjadjaran in Bandung.

The flooding disrupted normal life in the city with some schools closed and rail and bus operations partially hit. PT Jasa Marga diverted traffic from two toll roads connecting the capital to its suburbs following water-logging of the highways, the company said in a statement.

The Jakarta administration suspended the traffic restrictions on its main streets for the day after the meteorological bureau recorded more than 200 millimeters of rainfall in some areas, showers considered as extreme by the forecaster.

While heavy rainfall may continue to lash Jakarta until March 1, the rest of Indonesia may have an extended wet period through mid March, Dwikorita Karnawati, head of Indonesia’s Meteorological, Climatological and Geophysics Agency, said in a televised address. The rains may cause flash floods and landslides, she said.

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