Floods destroy crops in Indonesia's Jakarta

Farmers living outside Indonesia's flood-hit capital said Monday they were struggling to survive after hundreds of square kilometers (square miles) of land were inundated, destroying rice and other recently planted crops.

With waters receding, many returned to their washed-out fields Monday to survey the damage.

"We lost everything," said Mahiminih, looking out at his small plot of muddy land that, before the flooding, had been covered with brilliant green rice. "All the plants were destroyed or washed away."

Seasonal downpours last week caused rivers to break their banks in Jakarta, a sprawling metropolis of 12 million people, covering half the city with black, smelly water in the worst floods in recent memory.

Nearly 100 people were killed, most drowned or electrocuted, in the capital and its two neighboring provinces, Banten and West Java, where Agriculture Minister Anton Apriyantono estimated 1,200 square kilometers (500 square miles) of land was destroyed.

As result, national rice stocks will be depleted by 370,000 tons this month, he said. The price of Indonesia's staple food has already skyrocketed 30 percent in some areas, the AP says.

Hundreds of families who were camped out on a road alongside muddy fields, including many women carrying babies in slings, begged the government for help as others returned to small bamboo shacks to begin the cleanup process.

"We don't have anything to eat," said Ninia, a mother of five who uses only one name, as others desperately gathered around saying, "Noodles, noodles."

"Please, we need rice, we need cooking oil, we need food," she said.

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