Doni Mardani, head of the disaster agency, appealed to heads of local areas: “We hoped for the heads [of] areas to be firm and remind the people to evacuate. Their valuables are important but their lives are more important.”
He appealed to people living in low level areas where it used to flood to keep an eye out as waters may return to known “pools”. He told those living by the rivers to evacuate to the designated evacuation points.
Floodwaters started receded in some parts of the city on Thursday evening, enabling residents to return to their homes.
More than 409,000 people were evacuated. Wibowo said about 397,000 people sought refuge in shelters across the greater metropolitan area.
Those returning to their homes found streets covered in mud and debris. Cars that had been parked in driveways were swept away, landing upside down in parks or piled up in narrow alleys.
Sidewalks were strewn with sandals, pots and pans and old photographs. Authorities took advantage of the receding waters to clear away mud and remove piles of wet garbage from the streets.
Electricity was restored to tens of thousands of residences and businesses.
Jakarta’s Halim Perdanakusuma domestic airport reopened on Thursday after its runway was submerged. Nearly 20,000 passengers had been affected by the closure.
The flooding has highlighted Indonesia’s infrastructure problems.
Jakarta is home to 10 million people, or 30 million including those in its greater metropolitan area. It is prone to earthquakes and flooding and is rapidly sinking due to uncontrolled extraction of ground water.
President Joko Widodo announced in August that the capital would move to a site in sparsely populated East Kalimantan province on Borneo island, known for rainforests and orangutans.
AP, with Amilia Rosa