01/29/2014, 00.00
INDONESIA
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Jakarta flood emergency: heavy rains flood buildings, block roads and cause traffic jams

by Mathias Hariyadi
For the second time since the start of the year, heavy rains have paralysed the capital. The Indonesian Meteorology Agency issues weather warnings for the coming hours because of severe weather. The governor calls for collaboration and preventive measures, but clashes with the inaction of his counterparts in West Java and Banten.

Jakarta (AsiaNews) - For the second time this year, the people of Jakarta are facing massive floods that have blocked the city's main roads and flooded many buildings.

This morning, the Indonesian capital woke up under water due to heavy rains in recent days that have caused some rivers to overflow their banks.

The situation, experts warn, is steadily worsening, with large-scale flooding by the Gunung Sahari River causing panic and confusion among residents.

Previously, the Indonesian Meteorology Agency had issued a number of warnings. Spokesperson Hari Tirto Djatmiko in a new statement warned Jakartans of heavy floods because of severe weather.

Neighbouring cities, including Bogor, Puncak, Bekasi and Depok, are also at risk. "There are heavy rains almost everywhere," a spokesperson for the Indonesian Meteorology Agency said in a statement.

In the coming hours, the situation is expected to get worse because of high tide in the coastal area of North Jakarta, where the sea level has risen with consequent flooding in some sections in the capital's northern district.

Earlier today, traffic came to a halt at various points, most critically in Ciledug, where cars and motorcycles cannot move because of overflowing sewage that flooded roads.

Traffic problems have developed also in Kalimalang, with drivers forced to turn off their engines and wait for more than three hours in traffic jams.

Daily activities have been disrupted in the capital for the second time in a few weeks, and it is impossible to predict when the situation will be back to normal.

Jakarta Governor Joko Widodo is in constant contact with his counterparts in West Java and Banten provinces to deal with the emergency, and has repeatedly asked for his colleagues' help to minimise risks and hardships for the population. The goal is to come up with plans to address future emergencies in the capital.

Jakarta has always been shaped by its two main rivers, the Ciliwung and Cisadane, which originate in mountainous areas in the provinces of West Java and Banten.  For this reason, prevention is essential, starting with the rivers' sources.

The governor of the capital has proposed plans to build of a drainage channel to limit the damage in case of future floods; however, neither West Java nor Banten have shown any desire to cooperate on the matter.

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