JAKARTA, Jan 17: Floods which have made more than 19,000 people homeless and killed three brought parts of the Indonesian capital to a standstill on Thursday, with even the president forced to roll up his trousers.
The waist-deep muddy waters paralysed much of the centre of Jakarta, home to 20 million people and already notorious for its chaotic traffic.
Drivers were stuck in snaking queues for hours in the morning and cyclists pushed bikes with only the handlebars and seats visible.
President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono was pictured in the grounds of the presidential palace with his trousers rolled up to the knee, brown water lapping his calves and threatening to flood the shrubbery.
“Jakarta is flooded: hopefully there won’t be too many victims,” he told photographers, ordering military, police and disaster officials to ensure safety.
The monsoon floods had driven more than 19,000 people from their homes, according to Jakarta governor Joko Widodo.
National disaster management agency spokesman Sutopo Purwo Nugroho said the death toll rose to three when a 35-year old man was electrocuted on Thursday. A two-year old boy was swept away and a 46-year-old man was electrocuted earlier this week.—AFP