'THERE'S a lot of rusty cars around here,' says Gril Jaman, pointing at a jeep in front of his house. Almost gutted by corrosion, it looks like it has spent most of its life on a riverbed. Mr Jaman lives in Kampung Melayu, a Jakarta suburb made famous by this year's record floods. Pictures of the district underwater have appeared around the world. So far this year, Kampung Melayu has been hit by two of the worst floods on record. Last week, the neighbouring Ciliwung River, one of Jakarta's main waterways, submerged parts of the district in up to two metres of water; on January 6 floods rose up to four metres. But the suburb has not been alone in its woes. Early last week large areas of Jakarta were also awash in a sea of filthy brown water. Buses ploughed through axle-deep floods in Jalan Thamrin, the city's main thoroughfare, 60 centimetres of water covered Monas Square, a central landmark, and a Davis Cup match with South Korea had to be called off. By Wednesday, the death toll had reportedly risen to 22 and total damages were unknown. But the question on most people's minds is why all the chaos? In a city accustomed to heavy rains, floods this severe presumably should not occur at all. Authorities blame negligent officials and irresponsible developers. They say the flooding stems from rapid development in the hills to the south of the city and illegal construction in flood-prone districts downstream. Last Thursday, however, the Government looked like getting tough. After a meeting with President Suharto, State Minister for National Development Planning Ginandjar Kartasasmita said authorities would freeze all building in Punchak, a popular retreat for the rich and powerful. But Mr Ginandjar's announcement was greeted with yawns in most newspaper reports. They claimed the Government had said the same thing every year for a decade but lacked the will to confront the well-connected developers behind the problem. Back in Kampung Melayu, Mr Jaman has little doubt about who is to blame. With the floodwaters gone, the area looks like it has played host to a garbage truck convention. Rubbish from the millions of people living upstream is strewn on the river banks and the houses are stuccoed with mud. 'They don't think about the orang kecil [little people],' Mr Jaman says of those living upriver in Punchak. 'It's actually too late to stop them now - it should have been done three years ago.' This year, his family has lost everything - phones, clothes, power and appliances - twice. He also blames illegal development in his own suburb. Across the road are two new houses built right on the riverbank. However, relief efforts have been admirable, says Mr Jaman. The Government and university groups have replaced phones, repaired electricity and supplied a month's medicine and a doctor free.