Jakarta airport closes due to heavy rain

 
 

Indonesia was forced to temporarily close its main international airport on Friday because of poor visibility during torrential downpours, an official said. More than 60 planes were delayed or diverted.

 

Hariyanto, a spokesman for the Sukarno-Hatta International Airport, said he hoped the facility would reopen by early afternoon. Runways were not flooded, but visibility was less than 300 meters (984 feet) – compared to the minimum standard of 500 meters (1,640 feet), he said.

 

Forty-three flights were delayed and 21 diverted to other airports, Hariyanto said.

 

Indonesia was pounded by rain late Thursday and early Friday, bringing traffic to a standstill in much of the capital, Jakarta.

 

The rain was expected to continue until nightfall, Ahmad Zakir, a spokesman for the meteorological and geophysics agency, told El Shinta radio.

 

Citywide floods last occurred in February 2007 in Jakarta, much of which is below sea level. Environmentalists have blamed the flooding on garbage-clogged rivers, rampant overdevelopment and the deforestation of hills south of the city. (AP)

 
 
 
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