Widespread flooding hits Indonesian capital

Residents take to dinghies after torrential rains caused flooding up to 1.5 metres deep in Jakarta and nearby commuter towns, on February 21, 2017

Widespread flooding hit the Indonesian capital Tuesday after hours of torrential rain, with thousands of homes inundated, cars stranded and at least one person killed.

Water up to 1.5 metres (five feet) deep swamped parts of the Indonesian capital and nearby commuter towns after a thunderstorm overnight.

People were forced from their houses in some places, with authorities setting up evacuation centres. The disaster agency said it had received more than 400 reports of floods across Jakarta.

In Bekasi, a city within the Jakarta metropolitan area, one person drowned while about 280 others were forced to evacuate, the agency said.

Images of the flooding showed major roads inundated in parts of the megacity of 10 million, people wading through deluged streets and cars in water up to their headlights.

Drains were unable to cope with the torrents of water unleashed by the storm and rivers burst their banks, said disaster agency spokesman Sutopo Purwo Nugroho.

Jakarta is hit by flooding to some degree every year during tropical Indonesia's months-long rainy season, with the city's numerous riverside communities worst affected.

The city suffered one of its worst seasonal inundations in recent history in January 2013. The flooding submerged a major downtown roundabout, forced 30,000 people from their homes and left 20 dead.