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High Tide Flood Disrupts Flights, Forces Thousands To Flee Indonesia's Capital

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JAKARTA, Indonesia -- High tides flooded parts of the Indonesian capital with sea water, 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 Tuesday.

Authorities installed pumps to bring down water levels, which were 5 feet high in several sub-districts and reached 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 sea water swamped the toll road connecting the capital with the Soekarno-Hatta airport, leaving thousands stranded or trapped in miles-long traffic, Kompas newspaper said. Many flights were disrupted or forced to leave with only a handful of passengers, Muhammad Reski, the airport's officer-in-charge, said Tuesday.

source: http://www.irrawaddy.org

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