Indonesia floods: Death toll hits 66 as more rain is expected

Tens of thousands forced into shelters after floodwaters submerge entire neighbourhoods in Jakarta and satellite cities.

Residents commute by boat through a flooded road in Indonesia's West Java province [File: Timur Mathari/AFP]

The death toll from floods and landslides in Indonesia has risen to at least 66 people, as the country’s authorities warned residents of more heavy downpours in the coming days.

Entire neighbourhoods in the capital Jakarta and its satellite cities, home to about 30 million people, were submerged last week by floodwaters that forced tens of thousands into temporary shelters. 

“Five days after the floods, 66 people have died as of today,” Agus Wibowo, a spokesman for the National Disaster Management Agency, said on Monday.

Nine people died in Jakarta, while the rest of the fatalities occurred in neighbouring districts, according to the agency.

‘I didn’t manage to evacuate anything’

Authorities, meanwhile, asked residents to take precautions and safeguard their possessions in the face of more expected storms.

“There is still potential for mid to heavy rainfall with lightning, thunder and strong winds” in greater Jakarta, Indonesia’s weather bureau said in a statement.

Last week’s deluge was the heaviest in the capital since record-keeping began in the 19th century, the bureau said, leading to the city’s deadliest flood in years.

Some 377mm (14.8 inches) of rain pounded parts of the vast city, with floodwaters reaching up to the second floor of some buildings after rivers overflowed.

“I didn’t manage to evacuate anything … my house remains but the windows and doors are gone,” said Aminah, a flood victim.

At least two people in Jakarta’s west were taken to hospital on Monday after the collapse of a five-storey building, which Indonesia’s search and rescue agency said may have been caused by a build-up of rainwater.

Flash flooding also killed more than half a dozen people in Lebak, a regency of Baten province, including a seven-year-old boy who was reportedly swept away by the water.

A total of 169 areas across Indonesia were reported last week to have been overwhelmed by floods.

Located in the equatorial belt, Indonesia with its tropical climate often suffers from flash floods and landslides, mainly triggered by monsoon rainfall between October and April.

Source: Al Jazeera, News Agencies