Flash flood kills three in Indonesian capital

Other News Materials 2 February 2008 14:15 (UTC +04:00)

( dpa ) - Flash floods triggered by hours of heavy downpours swept parts of Jakarta, leaving at least three people dead and over 5,000 displaced, officials and local media reports said Saturday.

Floods had already hit other parts of Java Island, displacing thousands of people, while a landslide in Aceh province on the northern end of Sumatra this week left eight dead.

The Jakarta rains caused serious travel chaos and temporarily closed the capital's main airport for several hours Friday.

They had stopped Saturday, but some districts remained under water, with parts of a toll road leading to Jakarta's Soekarno-Hatta International airport left shut.

At least three people died in West Jakarta when they were swept away by flood water, said Rustam Pakaya, chief of the Health Ministry's Crisis Centre. Over 5,000 were forced to flee their homes.

Pakaya said more than 40 locations across Jakarta - home to more than 12 million people - were inundated by flood waters reaching heights of up to one metre.

Homeless residents were take shelters in school buildings, houses of worship, and other safer areas made available by the city administration.

In 2007, days of massive floods swept through the Indonesian capital, killing over 50 people and forcing 400,000 temporary to flee their homes.

Jakarta is vulnerable to flooding even from minor rain because many districts are near or below sea level, and drainage systems are poor.