43 dead and thousands displaced in Indonesian flooding

43 dead and thousands displaced in Indonesian flooding

Floods and landslides in Indonesia’s capital, Jakarta, have killed at least 30 people and left thousands homeless, according to the country’s National Agency for Disaster Management (also known as the BNPB).

“62,000 people were rescued in Jakarta alone, double the amount compared to Wednesday,” said BNPB spokesperson Agus Wibowo.

In Jakarta, an eight-year-old boy was killed in a landslide caused by heavy rain. Victims of the flood died from drowning, hypothermia and from being buried by landslides.

A 16-year-old boy died from being electrocuted by a power line when he was discovered by his father."My son’s body was covered with newspapers when my two other children passed by," said the teenager’s father.

Rescue efforts

On January 1, authorities in several districts of Jakarta cut off electrical supplies to curb further deaths by electrocution. The electricity shutoff disrupted train operations around the city and resulted in the closing of a domestic airport.

Authorities have deployed about 120,000 rescuers to help evacuate those affected by the disaster and install mobile water pumps around the city.

Jakarta Governor Anies Baswedan said that his administration will push ahead with infrastructure projects on two major rivers, including a dam and a sluice, to prevent flooding in the city of 30 million people.

Several planes are being readied to break up rain clouds with the use of chemicals over the Sunda Strait in the country’s efforts to minimize rainfall.

“All clouds moving toward the Greater Jakarta area, which are estimated to lead to precipitation there, will be shot with NaCl (sodium chloride) material,” Indonesia’s technology agency BPPT said in a statement.

Sodium chloride is a chemical typically used in cloud seeding, which is a type of weather modification that aims to change the amount of precipitation that falls from clouds.

Torrential storms on New Year’s Eve

The final day of 2019 saw Jakarta get one of its worst downpours in 24 years.

The Meteorology, Climatology and Geophysics Agency (BMKG) measured 377mm (14.8 inches) of rainfall in a single day at an airport in east Jakarta.The torrential downpours are expected to continue at least through this weekend.

The nearly record-high rainfall intensity was due to several factors, including Indonesia being in the midst of its wet monsoon season. Monsoons occur frequently in the subtropical climates of East and Southeast Asia.

Flooding around Jakarta

According to BNPB, mass flooding has been seen around Jakarta with east Jakarta having been especially affected.

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