Flood and Landslide Kill 9, Force Thousands to Evacuate

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  • TEMPO.CO, Jakarta - Flash floods inundated swathes of Indonesia's capital and nearby towns on the first day of the New Year after torrential rainfall overnight, killing at least nine people and forcing thousands of people to evacuate, authorities said on Wednesday, January 1, 2020.

    "As of 4 pm today, there are 19,079 displaced residents who have been evacuated at temporary shelters throughout Jakarta," Jakarta Governor Anies Baswedan told a news conference.

    "The rain in Jakarta has stopped, now we are waiting for the water to recede".

    National disaster mitigation agency (BNPB) said at least 9 people had died in flash floods and landslides triggered by the rain in Jakarta and nearby towns.

    Most of the deaths were due to hypothermia, though one was a teenager who was electrocuted by a power line, disaster mitigation agency spokesman Agus Wibobo said.

    Television footage showed cars almost completely submerged and people wading through meters murky brown water in some neighborhoods of the capital.

    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 a.m. local time, according to BNPB.

    State electricity utility PLN said it had switched off the electricity in hundreds of districts in Jakarta, which is home to 30 million people.

    The floods also caused the temporary closure of the runway at Jakarta's domestic Halim airport, with flights redirected to Soekarno-Hatta International Airport.

    City authorities have in the last few years sought to improve low-lying Jakarta’s vulnerability to flooding during the rainy season.

    More than 50 people died in one of the capital’s deadliest floods in 2007 and five years ago much of the center of the city was inundated after canals overflowed.

    REUTERS