JAKARTA Jan 17 Heavy monsoonal rains triggered
severe flooding in large swathes of the Indonesian capital
Jakarta on Thursday, with many government offices and businesses
forced to closed because staff could not get to work.
Weather officials warned the rains could get worse over the
next few days and media reports said that thousands of people in
Jakarta and its satellite cities had 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
An estimated more than 100 mm (12 inches) of rain had fallen
overnight in the capital. 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.
(Reporting by Michael Taylor and Rieka Rahadiana, writing by
Jonathan Thatcher; Editing by Michael Perry)