The death toll from flash floods and landslides in and around Indonesia’s capital Jakarta has risen to at least 21, with more heavy rain forecast, authorities said.
- Almost 20,000 displaced residents in Jakarta have been evacuated to temporary shelters
- Rising rivers have submerged up to 90 neighbourhoods, according to officials
- One man reportedly died of hypothermia, while a 16-year-old boy was electrocuted
The number of deaths climbed after earlier reports that nine people were killed and tens of thousands evacuated after flash flooding submerged parts of Indonesia’s capital and nearby towns.
The deadliest floods in years displaced more than 30,000 people and caused chaos across parts of South-East Asia’s biggest city with train lines blocked and power outages in some areas.
Social affairs ministry spokesman Joko Hariyanto said in a message to Reuters that the death toll had now reached 21.
Authorities did not give a full breakdown of the causes of death for all of the victims, but earlier said four people had drowned, four died in landslides and four more were electrocuted, while three died of hypothermia.
Heavy monsoonal rains since New Year’s Eve have inundated areas of the capital, filling homes and streets and washing away cars.
Earlier, in Jakarta’s east, many houses were submerged up to their roofs, with the water level reaching as high as 2 metres in parts.
“As of 4:00pm [Wednesday], there are 19,079 displaced residents who have been evacuated at temporary shelters throughout Jakarta,” city governor Anies Baswedan said in a news conference.
“The rain in Jakarta has stopped, now we are waiting for the water to recede.”
Water levels in east and south Jakarta as well as in the satellite cities of Tangerang and Bekasi in West Java province started to quickly rise from 3:00 am (local time), according to the Disaster Mitigation Agency, who also said monsoonal rains and rising rivers have submerged up to 90 neighbourhoods.
Indonesia’s state electricity utility said it had switched off the electricity in hundreds of districts in Jakarta, which is home to 30 million people.
The company said in a press statement that 724 flood-hit areas of the city had been shut down to prevent any electricity-related accidents.
Instead of celebrating the new year, residents in the worst-hit areas have spent the day mopping up water that has flooded homes and streets.
Severe flooding has also affected areas in the city’s east and further south at Bogor and as far as Bandung.
The Halim military airport had to close for a few hours after floodwaters covered the runway.
Television footage showed dozens of cars floating or being swept away by muddy waters, as well as rescue workers evacuating children in rubber boats.
Social media videos showed a boy apparently drowned in a flooded street.
The rains dampened celebrations around the city, soaking tens of thousands of people waiting to watch the annual fireworks.
Jakarta is prone to heavy flooding because many areas, particularly in the north, are almost at sea level and the city’s network of flood canals are insufficient.
In one of the worst floods, more than 50 people died in 2007. In 2014, much of the capital was inundated after the canals overflowed.
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