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More rain forecast as flood deaths rise in Jakarta

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JAKARTA: The death toll from flash floods and landslides in and around Indonesia's capital Jakarta reached 30 yesterday, with more heavy rain forecast, the authorities said.

The floods, one of the deadliest in years, have displaced more than 30,000 people and caused chaos across parts of South-east Asia's biggest city with train lines blocked and power outages in some areas.

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.

Indonesia's President Joko Widodo told reporters yesterday that evacuation and safety procedures would be prioritisedand called for more coordination between city administrations and the central government.

On his Twitter page, Mr Widodo blamed delays in flood control infrastructure projects for the flooding. He said some projects have been delayed since 2017 due to land acquisition problems.

CAUSES OF DEATH

The authorities did not give a full breakdown of the causes of death for all the victims, but earlier said four people had drowned, four died in landslides and four more were electrocuted, while three died of hypothermia.

Indonesia's Cabinet Secretary said in a statement, citing geophysics agency BMKG, that extreme weather may continue across Indonesia until next Tuesday and warned people to remain on alert for further flooding or landslides.

Television footage showed rescuers in the nearby city of Tangerang evacuating people, guiding them across a strong current by holding on to a rope.

Jakarta police on their Twitter account warned that a number of main streets across the capital were not yet passable, accompanied by a video showing a postal truck being stuck in the middle of a road.

Jakarta and its surroundings are home to more than 30 million people.

More than 50 people died in one of Jakarta's deadliest floods in 2007, and five years ago, much of the city centre was inundated after canals overflowed.

The government announced last year that it was relocating the capital to East Kalimantan province in Borneo, and the Planning Ministry pledged that the government will invest US$40 billion (S$54 billion) in modernising the city. - REUTERS

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