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Floods ease in Jakarta, at least 11 dead
by Staff Writers
Jakarta (AFP) Jan 18, 2013

Two men killed as storms lash Spain: officials
Madrid (AFP) Jan 19, 2013 - Two men were killed when a storm blew a wall onto them in southeast Spain on Saturday amid nationwide snow and gales that flooded roads and snapped trees in half, officials said.

The two men, one in his 40 and the other in his 60s according to reports, died when "the sheer force of the wind threw the wall down" in the city of Cartagena, the national government delegate in the region Joaquin Bascunana told TVE television.

"The accident was fatal. The wall fell on top of them," he added.

The interior ministry issued an alert for the weekend, warning of snow and rain storms across the country with winds up to 100 kilometres per hour (62 mph) and rough seas.

Spanish media said emergency services in various regions reported hundreds of calls for weather-related incidents.

Storms in Galicia in the northwest flooded roads and sent trees, lampposts and roof tiles crashing down, the regional government said in a statement.

Waves up to 10 metres (33 feet) high slammed into the shore in the major Galician city of A Coruna, TVE reported.

In Seville in the south, high metal advertising hoardings crashed down and trees were snapped in two by the storm, an AFP photographer saw.

National rail operator ADIF said wind damage had forced delays of high-speed trains linking Madrid with the major cities of Seville and Valencia but services later returned to normal.

Floods in Indonesia's capital Jakarta which have killed at least 11 people and left two missing eased Friday, authorities said, warning however of more torrential rains which could hamper relief efforts.

The capital's worst floods in five years have forced 18,000 people from their homes, the nation's disaster agency said, with many ferried to temporary shelters on rafts.

"Since January 15, 11 people have died, five of which from electrocution," said National Disaster Mitigation Agency spokesman Sutopo Purwo Nugroho.

Among the dead were two children aged two and 13, said Nugroho, adding that eight percent of the capital was still inundated on Friday morning and a city-wide state of emergency would apply until January 27.

By afternoon though, floodwaters had receded in central Jakarta and traffic was back to normal.

Jakarta police spokesman Rikwanto, who goes by one name, said that two men had been trapped since Thursday morning in a flooded parking lot in the capital's business district.

"Rescuers are still struggling to search for them," he said, adding that 2,781 police had been deployed to help assist victims from the floods.

At least four scuba divers were also helping to locate the missing, according to an AFP correspondent.

Authorities raised the flood alert to its highest level Thursday, warning that the torrential rains would not subside until the end of the week.

"Based on weather forecast, heavy rains will continue pouring down until Saturday," the agency's spokesman Nugroho said.

Authorities rushed against time Friday to fix a dike which collapsed due to floods near one of Jakarta business areas. Two excavators were seen and dozens of military personnel joined efforts to repair it.

The flooding caused chaos in the morning in Jakarta's upmarket downtown district, causing hours-long traffic jams as motorists struggled to get to work. Drivers could be seen standing miserably in raincoats, waiting for their flooded cars to be towed away. Other vehicles lay abandoned by the side of the road.

At the landmark Hotel Indonesia traffic circle, surrounded by office towers and five-star hotels, the brown floodwaters continued to swirl, forcing the nearby British, German and French embassies to remain shut.

As the waters receded, the area around the Grand Hyatt and upmarket shopping centres was left caked in mud.

A spokeswoman for the Mandarin Oriental said that despite the flooding, the hotel had seen a surge in demand for rooms from well-to-do clientele prevented from going home by the waters.

Greater Jakarta, home to 20 million people, is notorious for its traffic-clogged streets, but the floods brought a new dimension to the commute.

"It took me two hours to get to work," said Shinta Maharani, whose home is just seven kilometres (four miles) from her office. "I had to abandon the motorbike taxi and walk for 40 minutes because the road ahead was submerged."

Many train and bus routes serving the city centre were also suspended.

In one of worst hit areas in East Jakarta, a man in his early forties told AFP that the government's inability to mitigate annual flooding was causing him to lose hope.

"The government can only talk and talk...every year the condition is like this. All of furnitures, all of them in my bedroom, my television are broken," he said in his flooded neighbourhood.

Television footage showed a large monitor lizard and a three-metre long snake moving through the floodwaters in residential areas of the capital.

The floods were the worst to hit the capital since 2007, when about 50 people were killed and more than 300,000 were displaced.

Even the presidential palace was inundated by the waters on Thursday, with President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono pictured in the grounds in rolled-up trousers.


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Eleven dead, two missing as floods swamp central Jakarta
Jakarta (AFP) Jan 18, 2013
Floods in Indonesia's capital Jakarta have left at least 11 people dead and two missing, authorities said Friday as murky brown waters submerged parts of the city's business district, causing chaos for a second day. The capital's worst floods in five years have forced 18,000 people from their homes, the nation's disaster agency said, with many ferried to temporary shelters on rafts. "Flo ... read more

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