Jakarta parishes cancel Ash Wednesday liturgy due to flooding

Torrential rain brought by two tropical cyclones paralyzes Indonesian capital
Jakarta parishes cancel Ash Wednesday liturgy due to flooding

Flooding caused by torrential rain inundates the compound of Calvary Parish Church in East Jakarta on Feb. 25. (Photo supplied by Father Johan Ferdinand Wisjhijer)

Several parishes in Indonesian capital Jakarta canceled Ash Wednesday Mass on Feb. 26 due to widespread flooding.

The severe flooding, triggered by two tropical cyclones off the Indonesian coast, paralyzed large parts of the city and its surrounding areas on Feb. 25 as major streets were inundated with muddy floodwater, a dozen toll roads were closed, train services halted and power supplies cut off.

More than 100 neighborhoods, mostly in the eastern part of the capital, were inundated by floodwater about a meter and a half deep, according to the National Disaster Mitigation Agency.

Calvary Parish Church in the Lubang Buaya area of East Jakarta was inundated by waist-high floodwater.    

“The flooding was so bad we had to cancel Ash Wednesday liturgy in our parish church,” Father Johan Ferdinand Wijshijer, the parish priest, told UCA News. “We are now cleaning up the church to prepare for Sunday Masses.” 

St. Christophorus Parish in West Jakarta also had to cancel Ash Wednesday liturgy because floodwater almost a meter high had inundated the parish church.

“We switched the Ash Wednesday liturgy to another church this morning to St. Polycarpus Mission Station church,” Sacred Heart Father Adelbertus Servi Maria Fangohoi, the parish priest, told UCA News, adding his church has been inundated by flooding twice this year.

Severe flooding over the New Year period in Jakarta and nearby provinces killed at least 60 people, including a 16-year-old student who was electrocuted.

More than 90,000 people, including 20,000 in Jakarta, were forced to flee their homes.

Heavy rainfall is likely to continue to pound Jakarta and surrounding areas because of tropical cyclone Esther in the Gulf of Carpentaria and Cyclone Ferdinand in the Indian Ocean, Indonesia’s Meteorological, Climatological and Geophysics Agency said.

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