JAKARTA: Indonesian authorities will use generators and cloud-seeding measures to defuse and push away rain-laden clouds to avoid more flooding that has paralysed Jakarta, an official said yesterday.
Heavy rain over the mega-city last week caused 32 deaths and at its peak forced nearly 46,000 people to flee their inundated homes, Sutopo Purwo Nugroho, spokesman for the National Disaster Mitigation Agency, said.
The weather agency has forecast heavy rain for January 26-28, raising concerns that Jakarta —which combined with its satellite cities is home to 20 million people — may get submerged again.
To avoid such flooding a team led by the artificial rain unit of the Agency for the Assessment and Application of Technology will today start deploying 20 ground-based acetone generators in western Jakarta, in a bid to avert condensation in the region that contributes to larger rain clouds.
The artificial rain unit will also deploy a Hercules plane to carry out cloud seeding measures to force approaching clouds to rain in the ocean before they arrive over the capital, unit head Tri Handoko Seto said. “We are trying our best to modify the rain to not fall heavily on Jakarta as well as forcing the rainclouds to rain in the sea, or in areas outside Jakarta that can still take heavy rains,” Seto said by telephone. The rainy season is expected to last until March, Nugroho said.
Nepal police arrest
KATHMANDU: Nepalese police made a series of arrests yesterday after campaigners who have been staging a month-long anti-rape protest defied a ban on entering an area close to the prime minister’s residence.
Police spokesman Keshav Adhikari said demonstrators had entered the restricted area in the upscale Baluwatar neighbourhood of Kathmandu, near the residence of Prime Minister Baburam Bhattarai, after being warned not to do so.
“We have allowed them to stage peaceful protests. But they entered into this area which was restricted. Therefore, we arrested more than a dozen,” Adhikari said. Hundreds of demonstrators have been taking part in daily protests in Baluwatar since late December after an outcry over an alleged sex attack by police on a young woman returning home to Nepal from Saudi Arabia.
Sita Rai says she was robbed of her remittances at Kathmandu’s international airport by officials and then raped by a policeman who had offered to help her.