Tuesday, 14 January 2014 | MYT 4:13 PM
Jakarta rushes to keep annual flooding at bay
Residents sitting on a pavement in the Indonesian capital on Jan 13, 2014, after heavy rains over the mega-city caused flooding in the streets, prompting fears of a repeat of the flooding in January 2013 that caused at least 32 deaths and at its peak forced nearly 46,000 people to flee their inundated homes. - AFP
JAKARTA: Indonesia has put its national capital on emergency alert and said it would start cloud-seeding to induce most of the rain to fall over the Java Sea, in a bid to prevent the annual monsoon flooding that has frequently paralysed life in the metropolis.
Announcing the two-month-long operation on social media on Monday, President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono also ordered the police and military to help thousands of residents in and around the capital who were trapped in their homes, or had to evacuate after a downpour over the weekend.
Heavy rain across Jakarta and its neighbouring areas during the weekend saw at least 7,000 homes affected by floodwaters of up to 4m high. At least 5,000 residents sought shelter in 39 locations across the city on Monday.
Forecasters said more rain is expected in the coming weeks.
The National Agency for Disaster Management and the Agency for the Assessment and Application of Technology said at a joint press briefing that one Hercules aircraft and two Casa planes would be deployed from Tuesday for the cloud-seeding operations. - ANN/The Straits Times