Rescue operations underway in capital of Indonesia amid severe flooding and mass evacuations

Rescue operations are currently underway in Jakarta, Indonesia, the nation’s capital, amid severe flooding across several areas, which caused nearly 1000 people to flee their homes on Saturday. 

The country’s meteorology agency warned that these conditions are set to continue for the next week at least, and may need to be on alert until sometime in March. There were at least 1,380 Jakarta residents evacuated from southern and eastern parts of the city, which is home to nearly 10 million people and was affected the most. Floodwaters reached up to 1.8 meters, almost 6 feet, high, according to the acting head of Jakarta’s disaster mitigation agency Sabdo Kurnianto, and no casualties have been reported. 

“Two hundred neighborhoods have been affected, according to the latest data,” Jakarta Governor Anies Baswedan said on Saturday, adding that more than two dozen evacuation centers have been prepared across the city. This monsoon comes at a time when Indonesia is already struggling with the highest case and death numbers from COVID-19 in Southeast Asia and an economic recession. The country has been witnessing around 10,000 fresh cases every day, while the death toll has climbed to over 34,000 so far. People posted photos on their social media accounts depicting citizens of Jakarta wading through shoulder-high, muddy waters, cars almost entirely submerged under water, and search teams evacuating elderly residents using rubber dinghies in the peak of the monsoon season. 

“These are critical times that we need to be aware of,” said Dwikorita Karnawati, the head of BMKG, the Meteorology, Climatology, and Geophysical Agency. “Jakarta and its surrounding areas are still in the peak period of the rainy season, which is estimated to continue until the end of February or early March.” The BMKG said Jakarta would be on alert for the next four days, which are showing heavy and severe rainfall in the past 24 hours. The area of Pasar Minggu, in Jakarta’s south, alone has recorded 226 millimeters, or about 9 inches, of rain since Friday.




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