Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Sea water inundates parts of Indonesia's capital, say officials

JAKARTA (AFP) - - Sea water inundated parts of Indonesia's capital overnight, flooding homes in the north of the city with up to 70 centimetres (2.3 feet) of water, officials said Wednesday.
However, the waters, which poured into homes despite reinforced defences, were less severe than authorities expected, a North Jakarta public works official who identified himself as Eko told AFP.
The World Bank last week warned that the peak of an 18-year astronomical tide cycle would combine with storm surges to flood swathes of the capital, as well as shutting off the toll road to the city's international airport.
The airport road was untouched by the surging water and the early warning allowed the public works authority and residents to reinforce defences with makeshift sandbag and stone barriers, Eko said
"We had been anticipating the high tides and warned people in flood-prone areas in North Jakarta to prepare for the floods caused by the high tides," Eko said.
The peak of the flooding hit between 9.00 pm (1400 GMT) and 11.00 pm Tuesday and was 2.06 metres higher than the standard sea level at Jakarta's Fish Market measuring station, public works official Fakhrurrazi said.
Despite gloomy warnings last week, the World Bank revised its forecast on Monday, saying that a reduced storm surge would mean defences in most of the city could contain the flooding.
Jakarta, a coastal city of over 12 million which is sinking under its own weight, frequently experiences flooding from higher than average tides. Sea water floods in May closed off the road to the airport.

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