Flood has only just begun, Jakarta's residents warned

Flood has only just begun, Jakarta's residents warned

JAKARTA - Greater Jakarta residents are expected to be cautious for the next few days, as heavy rainfall was forecasted to continue after downpours all through the night triggered floods across the capital on Monday.

Floodwaters with depths of 50 centimeters inundated several areas, including thoroughfares such as Jl. MH Thamrin, Sarinah, Jl. Medan Merdeka Barat and Jl. Medan Merdeka Utara in Central Jakarta, causing major traffic congestion.

The Jakarta Disaster Mitigation Agency (BPBD) reported that at noon there had been 107 places inundated, mostly in West and Central Jakarta. Many families were forced to leave their flooded houses.

Meteorology, Climatology, and Geophysics Agency (BMKG) spokesperson Harry Tirto said heavy rainfall was expected to continue in Greater Jakarta for the next one or two days.

"The rain on Monday was only the beginning of this month's high rainfall. Residents in Greater Jakarta should expect similar conditions for the next one to two days. We are entering the peak of the rainy season," Harry told The Jakarta Post on Monday.

The floods also affected Commuter Line and Transjakarta bus routes, some of which halted operations or were redirected. The Tanah Abang railway station in Central Jakarta was closed as the railway tracks were inundated.

Jakarta Governor Basuki "Ahok" Tjahaja Purnama also pointed out that the rising sea level off the capital's north coast was a factor that had triggered severe flooding. "Furthermore, many of our pumps need to be repaired in order to work faster and better."

The capacity of the city's 44 reservoirs, he said, could not cope with the increasing volume of water caused by rising sea levels and incessant rain.

Commenting on floodwaters inundating the State Palace on Jl. Medan Merdeka Utara, Ahok said it should not have happened as all nearby water pumps and reservoirs were working.

"The Pluit [Reservoir] and Manggarai [water channel] are working just fine so it's bizarre that the State Palace is flooded," he said.

The country's flagship museum, the National Museum, has also been flooded for the first time in its history, according to Intan Mardiana, the museum director.

"Floodwater entered parts of the building this morning but we quickly resolved the issue by turning on three water pumps, which managed to drain the floodwater from the museum relatively quickly," Intan said.

Floodwater started to enter parts of the museum as heavy rain hit the capital city on Monday morning. "The floodwater was up to the ankles." It appeared that the drainage system surrounding the museum could no longer accommodate the excess rain water," said Intan.

The floodwaters inundating the museum began to recede at 1 p.m. "Today's flood was the first ever in the history of the National Museum. We have never experienced such an event before," said Intan.

While most areas were affected by the floodwaters, Jatinegara district in East Jakarta, which was known as a flood-prone area, was unusually free of floodwater.

Joice Layla Andres, a resident of Bidara Cina, Jatinegara, said her home and neighborhood were free of floods despite heavy rainfall in Jakarta. "We are only flooded when it rains in Bogor. So heavy rains in Jakarta are not likely to affect my area," she said.

In nearby Tangerang regency, 12 out of 29 districts also suffered from flooding.

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