Overnight downpours sent storm waters coursing back into some low-lying areas of Indonesia's capital yesterday, but authorities said floods had receded elsewhere, allowing more than 115,000 people to return home.
About 220,000 people remained in temporary shelters, however, and the death toll from days of flooding in Jakarta rose to 36 after more reports of fatalities were confirmed, a police spokesman said.
As authorities warned of the threat of diseases such as diarrhea and dysentery, anger mounted at the government's response to the floods, which burst river banks throughout the city on Thursday, turning scores of districts, rich and poor alike, into lakes of muddy water.
"We live in modern times. People should have been warned," said Stefanus Lamury, who lives in a flooded residential area close to the center of the city of 12 million people.
"No one should have died because of this," he said.
Soldiers had delivered instant noodles and rice by boat to those who chose to stay in the upper floors of their homes, refusing to evacuate out of fears that looters might target their properties, army Captain Tohar said.
Most of those who fled their homes are staying at mosques, schools or government buildings, sleeping on the floor with little access to bathrooms. Communal kitchens have been set up, but many complained of receiving little food.
"I guess this is just my fate," said Ponirah, a 37-year-old housewife sleeping along with scores of others in the corridor of a government apartment complex, her own house immersed by water.
"We are given bread every now and again, but it is not evenly distributed," said Ponirah, who like many Indonesians uses only one name.
Authorities earlier estimated that up to half of the city, which covers an area of more than 660km2, had been submerged by waters reaching up to 4m deep.
Residents in several districts said water levels had dropped or receded completely late on Monday, only to rise again after heavy downpours overnight. Most of the renewed flooding was reported to be between 50cm and 2m deep.
Witnesses reported that waters had receded in other districts.
Rustam Pakaya, head of the Health Ministry's crisis center, said the number of people forced from their homes had dropped to 221,088 from almost 340,000 on Monday.
"Many people have returned home after waters have receded," he said in a statement.
The country's meteorological agency said light rains were forecast over the next few days.
"The coming rains will not be as intense as those that triggered the big floods," forecaster Ahmad Zakir said.
"Nevertheless, at the moment rivers are still swollen. People have to remain vigilant for the next two or three days," he said.
Landslides and flash floods during the wet season kill hundreds in Indonesia every year, and the capital is not immune, but it has rarely -- if ever -- seen floods as bad as those in recent days.
The high water inundated scores of markets, schools and businesses across the city. Electricity and water supplies have been cut to much of the city and its surrounding towns.
Environmentalists blame the annual flooding on trash-clogged storm drains and rivers, inadequate urban planning and deforestation of hillsides south of the city, often to make space for the development of luxury villas.
The government dispatched medical teams on rubber rafts to worst-hit areas, where doctors treated people for diarrhea, skin diseases, respiratory problems and exposure after they had spent days in damp, dirty clothes.
"We have to be alert for diseases like typhoid, those transmitted by rats and respiratory infections. Hopefully, there will be no dysentery," said Health Minister Siti Fadilah Supari, urging residents to try to stay clean.
Flood conditions are also ideal for spreading malaria, dengue fever and the bird flu virus.
FRENCH AID: Paris has sent a navy ship and aircraft from Reunion Island with some pollution control equipment, but rough seas are spreading the oil spill The operator of a Japanese bulk carrier which ran aground off Mauritius in the Indian Ocean yesterday apologized for a major oil spill, which officials and environmentalists say is creating an ecological disaster, as police prepared to board the ship. The MV Wakashio, operated by Mitsui OSK Lines, struck the reef on Mauritius’ southeast coast on July 25. “We apologize profusely and deeply for the great trouble we have caused,” Mitsui OSK Lines executive vice president Akihiko Ono said at a news conference in Tokyo. The company would “do everything in their power to resolve the issue,” he said. At least 1,000 tonnes of
They stand as eyesores to most passers-by and potential public health risks to authorities, decaying buildings wrapped in tangles of exposed wire, studded with protruding leaky plastic pipes, vegetation billowing from cracks and terraces where particulates from polluted air have accumulated over time. With skyscrapers and ultramodern developments on every side, some of these “nail houses” are also sitting on land worth millions of dollars in Shenzhen’s inferno of a property market, where new-unit and second-hand home prices rival London. In battles over land and development, the nail house phenomenon has become widespread throughout China over the past two decades, with owners
A cat that went missing on a family holiday on the shores of Loch Lomond, Scotland, has been identified 12 years later. Tortoiseshell-and-white Georgie spent October half term in 2008 with her owners at the Rowardennan campsite, but vanished as they were due to return home to Greater Manchester, England. After a search of the site the Davies family departed without Georgie, hoping the three-year-old microchipped feline would be located by someone. Over the intervening 12 years, she remained close to the Queen Elizabeth Forest Park site, being fed and cared for by campsite staff and holidaymakers. After the COVID-19 pandemic hit and lockdown
An Italian alpine resort on Friday remained on high alert over fears that a vast chunk of a glacier on the slopes of the Mont Blanc massif could plummet in high temperatures. “No one gets through! No cars, bikes or pedestrians,” was the message at a checkpoint where an automatic barrier and two guards blocked the small road snaking up into a lush valley below the Planpincieux glacier, near the town of Courmayeur and the Italian-French border. The blockade has largely been greeted with contempt by the locals, one of whom said: “It’s a joke.” The huge ice block measuring around 500,000 cubic