9 dead after Indonesian capital hit by flooding

Agence France-Presse
9 dead after Indonesian capital hit by flooding
(UPDATED) A 16-year-old is electrocuted by a power line, while 3 more people die of hypothermia

JAKARTA, Indonesia (UPDATED) – Nine people died as Indonesia’s capital was hit by flooding, a disaster agency official said Wednesday, January 1, while local media reported landslides sparked by torrential rain on New Year’s Eve had killed several more residents.

Electricity was switched off in hundreds of waterlogged neighborhoods across Jakarta, home to about 30 million, with some train lines and one of the city’s airports also shut.

A 16-year-old was electrocuted by a power line, while 3 more people died of hypothermia, said Jakarta disaster management agency head Subejo.

“We’re hoping that the floodwaters will recede, but if the rain keeps up it’ll continue,” said the official, who like many Indonesians goes by one name.

Among the victims was an elderly couple trapped inside their home in a district where floodwaters reached as high as 4 meters (13 feet) after a river burst its banks.

Another victim drowned while 4 people were killed after the Tuesday evening downpour triggered landslides in the city’s outskirts. 

“We have shut down power (in many areas) to avoid more electrical shocks,” Ikhsan Asaad, an official at state firm PLN, told Agence France-Presse.

Asaad said he could not estimate how many residents had been affected by the power shutdown.

“We’re currently focusing on taking measures to ensure people’s safety,” he added.

“We’re evacuating people right now,” Jakarta governor Anies Baswedan told reporters. “Everyone living near rivers should anticipate (more) flooding.”

Images from across the region showed waterlogged homes and cars submerged in muddy floodwaters, while some people took to paddling in small rubber lifeboats or tyre inner-tubes to get around.

The disaster marked Jakarta’s worst flooding since 2013 when several dozen people were killed when the city was inundated by monsoon rains.

Jakarta is regularly hit by floods during Indonesia’s rainy season, which started in late November.

On Wednesday, service at Halim Perdanakusuma airport, which handles commercial and military planes, was temporarily shut due to severe flooding on its runways, according to the transport ministry.

Many flights were transferred to Jakarta’s main Soekarno–Hatta International Airport. – Rappler.com

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