Jakarta is often beset with flooding, but heavy rains and commercial developments made the past week's flooding especially widespread, and also especially egalitarian -- inundating the homes of both the poor and the wealthy.
A week of severe flooding in Jakarta is beginning to subside and refugees are starting to return to damaged homes and businesses.
At least 20 people died in the flood and 46,000 became homeless. More rain is forecast this weekend.
At its peak on Jan. 17, the water in some areas reached above six feet. Public transportation and traffic came to a halt forcing businesses to shut down.
“At the time, the water reached some places that previously were never (flooded), such as the presidential palace and the main road of Jakarta in Sudirman-Thamrin,” said Wahyu Dhyatmika, managing editor of the online news portal Tempo.co. “Even the city landmark (the Hotel Indonesia's roundabout) became a large pond of dark brown water.”
Environmental journalist Harry Surjadi painted a grim picture in an email on Friday.
“I can say that Jakarta has collapsed,” he said. “The rain has stopped at night but I can see that a grey cloud is covering Jakarta.”