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At least 9 dead after floods hit Jakarta

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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, the authorities said yesterday.

"As of 4pm today, there are 19,079 displaced residents who have been evacuated," city governor Anies Baswedan told a news conference.

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

Indonesia's disaster mitigation agency said at least nine people had died in flash floods and landslides triggered by the rain in Jakarta and nearby towns.

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.

Among the victims was an elderly couple trapped inside their home in a district where flood waters reached as high as 4m after a river burst its banks.

"We have shut down power (in many areas) to avoid... electrical shocks," Mr Ikhsan Asaad, an official at state firm PLN, which generates the majority of the country's electrical power, told AFP.

Mr Asaad could not estimate how many residents are affected by the power shutdown.

"We are currently focusing on taking measures to ensure people's safety," he added.

Floods are not uncommon in the capital. More than 50 people died in one of its deadliest floods in 2007.- AFP, REUTERS