JAKARTA: Household goods swept away by the New Year floods in the Indonesian capital of Jakarta could end up becoming someone else's treasure.
On Thursday (Jan 2) afternoon, people were seen gathering at the Manggarai floodgate in south Jakarta, hoping to lay their hands on valuables trapped among the garbage, news portal Kompas reported.
The items collected included televisions, refrigerators and gas cylinders.
Benjon, a resident from Penggangsaan district, said he goes to the area regularly to look for items to resell. The floods gave him more reason to come.
“Here, I got three one-gallon water containers. They have a high resell value. If I sell them to the junkyard, I will get 15,000 rupiah (US$1.08) per container,” he said.
Children were almost among the crowd at the floodgate. One child showed Kompas the helmet and television he had collected.
“They’re very valuable. I can buy snacks,” he said.
The floods, sparked by torrential rain, have claimed the lives of at least 43 people in greater Jakarta and the neighbouring Lebak regency.
Waters have since subsided in many areas, with electricity restored.
Indonesian President Joko Widodo was quoted by CNN Indonesia as blaming the floods on ecosystem and ecological damage, as well as litterbugs.
The Manggarai floodgate, which is located on the Ciliwung River that runs through the capital, has collected 900 cubic metres of garbage, Kompas reported.
Styrofoam, plastic and wood made up most of the waste.
A resident, Ms Sulami, said televisions and refrigerators could fetch between 80,000 rupiah and 10,000 rupiah each.
“The system is first come, first served. That’s why many residents have been waiting for this moment,” she told Kompas.