Jakarta. Nonstop rains from Tuesday afternoon to Wednesday morning have caused flood and landslide that paralyzed Jakarta and the capital's satellite cities in West Java and Banten, killing at least 14 people and displacing tens of thousand others.
Flood as high as 2 meters submerged residential and business areas in Jakarta, Bogor, Depok, Tangerang, and Bekasi (Jabodetabek) and disrupted airport, railway and bus operations, and vital utility services, leaving millions without power, internet access, and clean water supply for several hours.
Halim Perdanakusumah airport in East Jakarta was closed for several hours on Wednesday due to floods on its runway, forcing the airport air controller to transfer at least 21 commercial flights to Soekarno-Hatta International Airport in Tangerang, Banten. The operation of the airport has returned to normal in the afternoon.
Tanah Abang station, a key station for the commuter line in the capital, ceased operation for several hours in the morning as water innundated the train tracks. It has returned to regular operation at 1:15 p.m.
The state utility company Perusahaan Listrik Negara (PLN) cut off the power supply in 724 locations Jakarta, Bogor, Depok, Bekasi, and Tangerang to avoid exposing flood victims to electric shock.
"We are also concerned about this disaster. We secure the power network to let people avoid electric shock," Ikhsan Asaad, the general manager of PLN's Jakarta distribution unit, said in a statement on Wednesday.
"We apologize to residents around or near flood locations who also affected by power outages. We are forced to do this for the safety of residents affected by flooding," Ikhsan said.
PLN gradually restored the power supply for some in areas at 6:00 p.m. on Wednesday, but more than 3,300 out of 23,700 distribution substations in the Jabodetabek remain shut down.
Despite the precaution, a teenager in Kemayoran, Central Jakarta, was exposed to electric currents in the water and died on Wednesday morning.
The teenager was among four people who were killed in the New Year’s flood – with two others in East Jakarta and another in South Jakarta – according to Jakarta Governor Anies Baswedan on Wednesday afternoon after observing the situation from the air.
The heavy rains triggered a landslide in Depok, West Java, where is in the border with Jakarta, killing two women and an eight-year-old boy while they were sleeping at their home. Gandara Budiana, the head of firefighter and safety unit of Depok municipality, said their four other family members survived with various injuries.
The authorities had transferred the survivors and bodies of the victims to Fatmawati Hospital in South Jakarta, he said. Gandara said, apart from the family, he has yet to receive reports about other victims in Depok's flood and landslide as of Wednesday afternoon.
In Bogor, at least seven people were killed, and another is still missing. The casualty was caused by landslides and floods, according to Yani Hassan, head of Bogor Regional Disaster Mitigation Agency (BPBD).
The Meteorology, Climatology and Geophysics Agency (BMKG) said Jakarta saw in the past 24 hours its highest rainfall intensity on record in more than two decades.
Three rainfall monitoring posts surrounding Jakarta reported the rain from Tuesday afternoon to Wednesday has intensity from 259 millimeters to 377 millimeters per day.
Jakarta is located in the basins of several of Java's major rivers and is no stranger to floods during the rainy season. But exceptionally high-intensity rain often comes with severe floods that inundated larger areas in the capital. Such a disaster happened in 1996 when the rain poured with a maximum intensity of 216 millimeters per day and in 2002 with 168 millimeters per day.
A 340-millimeters-per-day rain wreaks havoc in the capital in 2007, causing close to $1 billion in damage and displaced about half a million people. The most recent major flood happened in 2015 with a maximum rainfall intensity of 277 millimeters per day.
“This New Year rains were very extreme and poured in almost all of western and northern part of Java Island, causing flooding in Jakarta, Tangerang, Bekasi, West Bandung as well as in Cikampek and Cipali [West Java],” BMKG said in its statement on Wednesday.
BMKG said it observed flood level in the Greater Jakarta Area varied between 30-200 centimeters.
Worst to Come
The weather agency forecast heavy rains will continue on Wednesday and trigger more floods
The National Disaster Mitigation Agency (BNPB) urged people who are living in potential flooding areas to evacuate to safe places. “The important thing is safe your life first,” Doni Monardo, head of BNPB, said on Wednesday in responding BMKG forecast.
Jakarta provincial government has sprung into action to evacuate residents from the flooded area and provided first aid, foods, and shelters for them.
"If we look from Bogor to Jakarta, the rainfall is unusually high. So, our phase is now evacuating, then preparing temporary shelters. All offices and schools in DKI Jakarta Provincial Government are prepared to accommodate the displaced people," Jakarta Governor Anies Baswedan said.
"Jakarta Provincial Government has not taken a day off, all [officers] have gone to the field, and they have been assigned to every city ward to help," Anies said.
The governor said water from the upstream areas would reach Jakarta soon, prolonging the floods in the capital. "This is something we must anticipate even though the rain in Jakarta has subsided," Anies said.