9 dead after Indonesian capital hit by flooding

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(Jakarta) – Nine people died after Indonesia’s capital was hit by its deadliest flooding in years, authorities said, as torrential rains on New Year´s Eve left vast swathes of the megalopolis submerged.

Thousands were evacuated to temporary shelters as electricity was switched off in scores of waterlogged neighbourhoods across greater Jakarta, home to about 30 million people, with some train lines and one of the city´s airports also shut.

Indonesia´s National Disaster Mitigation Agency called on residents to leave flood-hit areas.

“The first priority is saving lives,” said agency head Doni Monardo.

A 16-year-old was electrocuted by a power line, while three more people died of hypothermia, according to the disaster agency.

“My son´s body was covered with newspaper when my two other children passed by,” said Fadrid, who identified himself as the dead teen´s father.

“People asked them whether they knew the victim. If they hadn´t been passing by, we wouldn´t have known my son had been killed,” he told AFP.

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.

Another victim drowned while four 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 AFP.