Worst flooding in years turns deadly in Jakarta, leaving the city underwater

Eric Leister
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Worst flooding in years turns deadly in Jakarta, leaving the city underwater

A period of heavy rain and thunderstorms in Indonesia's capital city turned deadly and caused significant travel disruptions.

The downpours began Tuesday evening and continued into Wednesday morning inundating large swaths of the city and surrounding areas under feet of water.

Several parts of the city remained without power as of Thursday morning. While some of the water had receded by Friday, some locations were still underwater.

At least 42 deaths have been reported as of Friday evening local time, according to Bloomberg, with another person still missing.

More than 400,000 people have been forced from their homes due to the flooding. Since the peak of the flooding, some power has been restored to 85 percent of the city, and some residents have returned home to asses the damage. A small amount of power outages remained in force to limit the risk for electrocutions in the hardest hit communities.

Flight delays and cancellations were also reported at Halim Perdanakusuma Airport, the city's second-biggest, Tuesday and Wednesday. The airport was forced to close for a time during the worst of the heavy rain. Several train lines were also blocked by water or debris.

After disruptions for several days, normal operations resumed at the airport on Thursday.

In a statement to reporters, Jakarta Gov. Anies Baswedan said around 120,000 people have been deployed to help with water rescues and evacuations. On Thursday, President Joko Widodo ordered government agencies to prioritize rescue and security measures.

The intense rainfall from New Year's Eve is said to be the highest in 24 years. In 2007, more than 50 people were killed in the capitals deadliest flooding.

Rainfall at the East Jakarta airport measured 377 mm (15 inches) of rain on the morning of January 1.

Widespread rainfall amounts of 150 mm (6 inches) were reported throughout the city along with a few localize areas surpassing 250 mm (10 inches). The hills outside the city recorded up to 370 mm (14.57 inches).

Most of this rain fell within a six-hour period Tuesday night.

The areas that were hit the hardest remained under 600-900 mm (2-3 feet) of water late Wednesday.

Despite the additional downpours through Friday, the forecast shows less moisture in the region for the weekend. However, with Jakarta in their wet season, more downpours is inevitable.

The wet season typically lasts into early April, with January and February being the wettest months of the year in Jakarta. The average monthly rainfall in both months is near 300 mm (12 inches).