Floods in the capital of Indonesia recede as the death toll reaches 30

JAKARTA: residents of Indonesia The capital, which was forced to take refuge from widespread flooding, began returning to their homes on Thursday when the waters began to recede, although the death toll from the disaster increased to 30.

Rains and rising rivers submerged at least 182 neighborhoods in greater Jakarta as of Wednesday and caused landslides in the districts and Depok on the outskirts of the city.

Jakarta Governor Anies Bawesdan said much of the water had receded by Thursday evening and the number of displaced people at temporary shelters had fallen to about 5,000 from 19,000.

Authorities previously said that 35,000 people were in shelters in the metropolitan area.

Those who returned home found streets covered in mud and debris. Cars that had been parked at the entrances of vehicles were dragged, landing face down in parks or stacked in narrow alleys. The sidewalks were full of sandals, pots and pans and old photographs.

The authorities took advantage of the recoil of the waters to clean the mud and eliminate the piles of wet garbage from the streets. Electricity was restored to tens of thousands of residences and businesses.

At its peak, flooding flooded thousands of homes and buildings, forced authorities to cut off electricity and water and paralyzed transportation networks, said spokesman for the National Disaster Mitigation Agency, Agus Wibowo. Floods reached up to 2.5 meters (more than 8 feet) in some places.

Wibowo said the number of people killed in the disaster had increased to 30.

It was the worst flooding since 2013, when 47 people were killed after Jakarta was inundated by monsoon rains.

Jakarta 's Halim Perdanakusumah domestic airport reopened Thursday after operations were suspended when flood water submerged its runway, said Muhammad Awaluddin, the president director of PT Angkasa Pura II, the airport's operator. Nearly 20,000 passengers had been affected by the closure.

In Jakarta 's satellite cities of Bekasi and Tangerang, where rivers had burst their banks, large areas remain inundated.

Bekasi residents waded the water to the neck or floated in makeshift rafts wearing clothes and other recovered possessions. Some climbed to the roofs to await the rescue of soldiers and emergency workers in rubber boats.

The government is horrible and the rescue effort is too slow, said Imas Narulita, who spent 36 hours on the second floor of her suburban home with her 6-month-old baby.

She said she has a neighbor who is sick but no one has come to rescue him.

In this modern time, no one should have died for this, he said.

Social Affairs Minister Juliari Peter Batubara said the government sent medical equipment and rubber rafts to the most affected areas, while boat rescuers delivered instant noodles and rice to those who decided to stay on the upper floors of their homes.

The flooding has highlighted Indonesia's infrastructure problems.

Jakarta is home to 10 million people, or 30 million including those in its greater metropolitan area. It is prone to earthquakes and flooding and is rapidly sinking due to uncontrolled extraction of ground water. Congestion is also estimated to cost the economy USD 6.5 billion a year.

President Joko Widodo announced in August that the capital will move to a sparsely populated Eastern Kalimantan province on the island of Borneo, known for rainforests and orangutans.

Widodo told reporters in Jakarta on Thursday that one of the causes of flooding is due to damage to the ecosystem and ecology in addition to many people who throw garbage into rivers.

He said that the government is working to mitigate and prevent flooding in regions across the country. Especially in Jakarta , the construction of West Java's Cimahi and Ciawi dams is expected to be completed by next year.

Both the central and regional governments would work together to solve the problem, Widodo said.