JAKARTA - HIGH tides flooded parts of the Indonesian capital with seawater, forcing tens of thousands of people to flee inundated homes and cutting off a toll road leading to the international airport, officials and media reports said on Tuesday.
Authorities installed pumps to bring down water levels, which were 1.7-metres high in several subdistricts and reached up to two kilometers (more than a mile) inland, but said they expected tides to continue to wreak havoc through the end of the month.
Residents in north Jakarta have grown used to flooding during the monthly high-tide cycle, but Monday's was the worst in memory.
The disaster was blamed on ignored warnings about exceptional 18-year high tide cycles, Jan Japp Brinkman, a flood expert, was quoted as saying in the Jakarta Post newspaper. The situation was exacerbated by a failure to fix a sea barrier that was breached over a week ago.
At least 8,000 houses were flooded and seawater swamped the toll road connecting the capital with the Soekarno-Hatta airport, leaving thousands stranded or trapped in kilometres-long traffic, Kompas newspaper said.
Many flights were disrupted or forced to leave with only a handful of passengers, Mr Muhammad Reski, the airport's officer-in-charge, said on Tuesday. -- AP