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JAKARTA, Indonesia (AP) — Boats carried emergency supplies to desperate residents of Indonesia's flood-stricken capital on Sunday as overflowing rivers again burst their banks following days of rain. At least 20 people have been killed and almost 340,000 others made homeless, officials said.
Hundreds of people remained on the second floors of their houses, either trapped or unwilling to abandon them despite warnings that muddy water running four meters deep in places may rise in the coming days.
"Jakarta is now on the highest alert level," said Sihar Simanjuntak, an official monitoring the water levels of the many rivers that crisscross the city of 12 million people. "The floods are getting worse."
The government dispatched medical teams on rubber rafts into the worst-hit districts amid fears that disease may spread among residents living in squalid conditions with limited access to clean drinking water.
During the wet season, Jakarta suffers from flooding due to clogged sewage pipes and waterways. Rainforest depletion due to rapid urbanization on the highland areas south of Jakarta near Bogor and Depok has also contributed to the floods. Among the worst flood ever happened, was the one occurred in late 2001, where approximately over 65% of Jakarta's total area was flooded.