Death toll rises in Indonesia’s sinking capital as flood defences struggle

 
Krithika Varagur in Jakarta
Sat 4 Jan 2020

 


Jakarta residents try to salvage their possessions. Photograph: Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

Landslides and floods triggered by torrential downpours have left at least 60 people dead in and around Indonesia’s capital as rescuers struggled to search for survivors, officials said on Saturday.

“We’ve discovered more dead bodies,” said Agus Wibowo, a spokesman for the National Disaster Mitigation Agency.

The worst monsoon rains in more than a decade deluged Jakarta this week and rising rivers submerged at least 182 neighbourhoods while landslides on the city’s outskirts buried at least a dozen people.

As the government began seeding clouds in an effort to head off further rain, Agus Wibowo of the National Disaster Mitigation Agency said the fatalities included those who had drowned or been electrocuted since rivers broke their banks on New Year’s Day. Three elderly people died of hypothermia.

 

Wibowo said about 397,000 people sought refuge in shelters across the greater metropolitan area with some places left 19ft under water.

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