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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Threat of Disease Follows Torrential Floods in Jakarta

JAKARTA, Indonesia -- Horse-drawn carts rescued residents from flood-stricken districts in the Indonesian capital Monday after pounding rain caused rivers to burst their banks, killing at least 29 people and forcing some 340,000 to flee from their homes in recent days.

Clearer skies brought some relief Monday, and witnesses said floodwaters were receding in several areas while levels at key rivers were dropping.

Large areas of the city remained submerged under waist-high waters, however, and officials warned that rain to the south, responsible for Jakarta's swollen rivers, might result in more flooding later in the day.

"We expect residents to stay alert because water may rise again -- and very fast," said Sihar Simanjuntak, an official monitoring the many rivers that crisscross this city of 12 million people.

The government has 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.

"We have to be alert for diseases like typhoid, those transmitted by rats and respiratory infections. Hopefully, there will be no dysentery," Health Minister Siti Fadilah Supari said. "We know it's hard for the residents [to keep clean] under the circumstances, but they have to."

People living in one upscale area hired carts and horses to pull them to safety.

"The government is awful," said Augustina Rusli, who for five days was trapped on the second floor of her house with her 10-month-old baby, expecting the floods to be short lived. "We have a neighbor who is sick with cancer but no one has come to rescue her."