President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, First Lady Ani Yudhoyono and several Cabinet members paid a visit to areas affected by floods in Jakarta on Thursday.
The inspection was made immediately after Yudhoyono ended his bilateral talks with Argentinean President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner at the Merdeka Palace, the meeting had been postponed for two hours due to the heavy downpours and flooding across Greater Jakarta.
Yudhoyono began his field inspection under the Kalibata fly-over in Rawajati Sub-district, South Jakarta, visiting local residents whose homes were inundated.
National Police Chief Gen. Timur Pradopo, Coordinating People’s Welfare Minister Agung Laksono, Social Affairs Minister Salim Segaf Al-Jufri, Public Works Minister Djoko Kirmanto and Education and Culture Minister Muhammad Nuh also joined the inspection.
The President’s impromptu visit surprised hundreds of locals who flocked to the location to greet Yudhoyono and Ani.
After a few minutes, the President and his ministers boarded a military Sea Rider boat to visit other sites.
Ani, however, did not follow her husband, opting instead to talk to locals. The First Lady inspected a community medical center and an ad-hoc public kitchen to check if the facilities worked well.
Yudhoyono’s boat proceeded five kilometers to Cawang before returning to Rawajati.
“Jakarta, once again after the big flooding in 2007, has suffered a disaster. All over the city people are suffering from flooding including at the Palace, my office, which was also inundated this morning,” Yudhoyono said. “The government is working hard. I have told relevant officials and agencies to take immediate action.” (lfr)