Torrential rains have caused massive flash floods in Indonesia on New Year’s Eve, battering Jakarta and its surrounding areas in the days that followed.
Based on the latest death toll released by authorities, the devastation has left at least 66 people dead and two people missing, CNN reports.
The floods, considered by locals as the worst in the area since 2007, have caused electricity shutdowns, disruptions of multiple transportation networks and forced evacuations.
When the disaster hit last week, thousands in the capital’s 158 urban communities fled their homes. Surrounding areas such as Bekasi, Tangerang, South Tangerang, and Lebak, were also heavily affected.
Over 173,000 residents were reportedly displaced, according to the National Disaster Management Agency (BNPB).
While the floodwaters have subsided in many areas around Jakarta, the waters are expected to rise again as thunderstorms and heavy rains are reported to hit Jakarta again in the days ahead.
Experts say Jakarta is prone to flooding because a substantial part of it is low-lying, with some 59,305 acres below sea level. While the heavy rain coincides with high tides, flooding in the city can become quite severe.
Many have pointed out that the lack of proper water and sewage systems also contribute significantly to Jakarta’s repeated flooding.
On January 2, Indonesian President Joko Widodo blamed environmental damage and waste dumping in rivers for the flooding. On his Twitter account, the president has vowed to rebuild all public infrastructure with anti-flooding measures.
Prior to the flooding, the Indonesian government proposed to move the capital to a new location because Jakarta has been sinking for years. Considered the fastest sinking city in the world, Jakarta sinks about two to four inches annually.
Meanwhile, Jakarta’s sinking has been widely attributed to an overextraction of groundwater that is being used in numerous construction projects.
Feature Image via Getty