Jakarta floods: Cloud seeding used to try to stop rain

Indonesian authorities are turning to the technique of cloud seeding to try to stop more rain falling in the flood-hit capital Jakarta. Planes have been sent to inject chemicals into clouds in an effort to alter precipitation.

Jakarta and surrounding districts have struggled to cope since a storm on New Year’s Eve left large areas underwater.

At least 43 people are known to have died, with some 192,000 evacuated. More rain is expected.

According to Reuters news agency, two planes have been sent up to shoot salt flares into the clouds, with the aim of making them break before they reach the Jakarta region.

“All clouds moving towards the Greater Jakarta area, which are estimated to lead to precipitation there, will be shot with NaCl (sodium chloride) material,” Indonesia’s technology agency BPPT explained in a statement.

Floods are common in the city around this time of year, and are among the reasons President Joko Widodo plans to move the capital to East Borneo in the next few years. Mr Widodo blamed the severity of current disaster on delays in flood control infrastructure projects.