Indonesia to divert rain after flooding kills four

Residents wade through a flooded area in Jakarta. (Reuters)

Residents wade through a flooded area in Jakarta. (Reuters)

Indonesia is trying to divert rain away from its capital Jakarta after four people were killed due to heavy flooding in the area.

Indonesian authorities are using cloud seeding to divert rain away from Jakarta after four people were killed because of flooding, officials said on Wednesday.

More than 5 000 people were displaced by flooding in several areas in the capital this week following days of heavy rain. 

The seeding operation, which involves dropping salts onto clouds, is aimed at stimulating rain over the sea before it can reach Jakarta, said Heru Widodo, the head of the artificial rain department at the Agency for the Assessment and Application of Technology. The operation will last for two months and is expected to cost 20-billion rupiah, he said. 

"It's too early to say whether the effort has been successful, but it costs only a small fraction of any losses caused by flooding in Jakarta," Widodo said. 

The capital's disaster management agency said four people had been killed by floods that hit parts of Jakarta since Monday. Last year, 26 people were killed during days of flooding in the capital. 

Flooding is an annual occurrence in the sprawling city of more than 10-million people, despite pledges by successive governors to stop it. About 40% of the city lies below sea level, made worse by clogged rivers, sewers and storm drains, and poor city planning. – Sapa-dpa

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