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Flood death toll rises to 21 in Indonesia's capital Jakarta

10:57 | 02/01/2020

The death toll from flash floods and landslides in and around Indonesia's capital Jakarta reached at least 21 on Thursday (Jan 2), with more heavy rain forecast, authorities said.

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General view during a flood after heavy rain in Bekasi, near Jakarta, Indonesia. (Photo: Reuters/Antara Foto/Saptono)

The deadliest floods in years displaced more than 30,000 people and caused chaos across parts of Southeast 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.

"We're still updating the figures from various sources and there is a possibility that the toll could increase," National disaster agency spokesman Agus Wibowo said Thursday.

An eight-year-old boy killed in a landslide and an 82-year-old pensioner were among the confirmed victims.

Those killed died from drowning, hypothermia and being covered by landslides, while one 16-year-old boy was electrocuted by a power line.

Two of the 18 victims died in neighbouring Lebak regency, according to officials, but media reports said five people died in the region at the south end of Java island.

Swathes of Jakarta and nearby towns were inundated after heavy rain fell on Dec 31 and into the early hours of New Year's Day.

flood death toll rises to 21 in indonesias capital jakarta
A security guard uses an inflatable boat as floods hit Kemang area in Jakarta, Indonesia January 1 2020, in this photo taken by Antara Foto. Antara Foto/Sigit Kuniawan/via REUTERS
flood death toll rises to 21 in indonesias capital jakarta
A rescue team evacuates locals on an inflatable boat during a flood after heavy rain in Bekasi, near Jakarta, Indonesia January 1 2020, in this photo taken by Antara Foto. Antara Foto/Saptono/via REUTERS

Indonesia's geophysics agency forecast rain accompanied by lightning and strong winds later on Thursday.

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.

On Wednesday, electricity was switched off in many Jakarta districts to prevent more electrocutions, with some train lines and one of the city's airports also shut.

The torrential downpour triggered landslides on the city's outskirts, while scores of homes were flooded with muddy water.

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.

Jakarta and its surroundings are home to more than 30 million people. More than 50 people died in one of the capital’s deadliest floods in 2007 and five years ago much of the centre of the city was inundated after canals overflowed.

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

Reuters/AFP