Indonesia capital hit by flooding

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Many feared dead as Indonesia’s capital was hit by flooding, a disaster agency official said Wednesday, 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 neighbourhoods 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 three 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 four metres (13 feet) after a river burst its banks.

Local media reports said three more people were killed after the Tuesday evening downpour triggered landslides in Cinere on the southern edge of the city.

Those deaths could not be immediately confirmed, and police said they were still investigating.

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

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.

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.

Flights were cancelled at Halim Perdanakusuma airport, which handles commercial and military planes, due to severe flooding on its runways, according to the transport ministry.

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

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

 

Chukwuemeka Nwoga

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