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Sunday 20 April 2014

Floods paralyse Indonesia with a foot of rain in a night

Schoolchildren cross a flooded area at the business district in Jakarta . Photo: Reuters

HEAVY rains triggered severe flooding in the Indonesian capital of Jakarta yesterday, with over a foot of rain falling in a single night.

Officials warned the rains could get worse over the next few days and thousands in Jakarta and its satellite cities have been forced to leave their homes because of the torrential downpours this week.

"For the next two or three days it is estimated that there may be increasing activity of the Asian Monsoon which could increase weather activity in southern Sumatra and Java," said Soepriyo, an official at the Meteorological, Climatological and Geophysical Agency.

This year's rainy season has brought some of the heaviest downpours for five years.

In the centre of Jakarta, whose streets overflow with vehicles at the best of times, traffic was brought to a near standstill by waist high flood waters.

The city's main airport remained open but many roads leading there were reportedly blocked. Most commuter train services and the bus system were closed.

The Jakarta Stock Exchange did open but trading was light.

The presidential palace, the finance and agricultural ministries and the central bank were all open, spokesmen said.

However, the trade ministry said it was forced to close because of a power cut triggered by the flooding.

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