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300,000 Homeless, 20 Dead From Jakarta Floods

Flooding in the Indonesian capital of Jakarta has killed at least 20 people and left 300,000 homeless, with the water rising as high as four meters in some places.

More rain is forecast for the next two weeks, and authorities have placed the city of nine million people on highest alert. Thousands of rescue personnel equipped with helicopters and inflatable watercraft were deployed Sunday.

Officials warn that many more casualties are likely. Health authorities say much of the city's fresh well water has been contaminated, and stranded people are at risk of illness from water-borne pathogens.

Days of torrential rains produced the devastating floods, which submerged streets and stranded many people on rooftops.

Indonesia's Environment Minister, Rachmat Witoelar has blamed the floods - the worst in years - on poor urban planning and excessive construction in natural drainage areas.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP, AP and Reuters.