Thursday, January 17, 2013

Jakarta Business District Floods After West Flood Canal Dike Collapses

Central Jakarta’s business district flooded with water on Thursday after a 30-meter-long section of the West Flood Canal dike collapsed, the Jakarta Public Works Agency said.

Jakarta officials suspect the collapse was caused by surge of water sent into the canal after the Manggarai floodgate was opened hours earlier. The dike could not withstand the force of water, which flowed into the canal at 500 cubic meters per second, Jakarta Public Works Agency head Hendri said.

Homes and roads in the Menteng area were inundated with 1.5 meters of water late Thursday morning as floodwaters covered portions of Jalan Teluk Betung and Tosari. Jalan MH Thamrin and Jalan Sudirman were also underwater by Thursday afternoon.

Train service was cancelled in the greater Jakarta area after floods destroyed 40 meters of tracks near the Tanah Abang station, KAI spokesman Mateta Rizalulhaq said. 

The train company is unable to fix the damaged tracks until the dike is repaired.

“We cannot fix the railway as long as the water is still there,” Mateta said. “It can only be done after it is dry.”

Jakarta Governor Joko Widodo visited the site at Thursday afternoon and urged the Ministry of Public Works to fix the dike while emergency funding is available.

“I will call on the Ministry of Public Works to fix this,” Joko said.

As long as the dike remains damaged, the flooding will continue along Jalan Thamrin and Jalan Sudirman, Hendri said.

“If it is not fixed, the floods… will keep on getting higher,” he said.

The agency plans to construct a temporary stone wall to try to stop some of the rushing water before crews begin making permanent repairs.

Jakarta will remain under emergency status until January 27. (Jakarta Globe)

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