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At least 23 killed, many missing in floods in Indonesia

UNITED STATES (OBSERVATORY NEWS) — The Indonesian Disaster Management Agency warned Thursday that the death toll from the heavy rains that ravaged the Jakarta region and caused floods and landslides that killed at least 23 people and flooded vast areas of the big city underwater.

Tens of thousands of residents were evacuated to temporary shelters in the region where nearly 30 million people live, with many homes destroyed by the bloodiest flooding in years, after heavy rains poured into New Year’s Eve.

Pictures from all over the area showed homes and cars covered with muddy water, while some people used small rubber boats and tires to move around.

After the waters receded from the streets in Bakkasi, on the outskirts of Jakarta, street scenes filled with remains of water and vehicles piled on top of each other were exposed. And the effects on the buildings showed that the height of the water reached the second layer.

Relief teams used rubber boats to evacuate residents stranded in their homes, including children and the elderly.

Children in the city took the opportunity to swim in the waters that flooded the streets, while others were fishing.

“I saw people catching fish and caught up with them,” said Agung Rosyadi, 28, adding, “There were a lot of fish before, but they have now disappeared.”

At least 21 people were killed in the Greater Jakarta region, and two others in sudden floods in neighboring Lebak Regency in southern Java Island.

“We hope the number will not rise further,” Minister of Social Affairs Juliari Peter Patubara told reporters on Thursday.

In Lebak, the local disaster management agency confirmed the death of two people, noting that it was investigating reports that three other people had been killed.

Lipak police announced that they were still searching for eight missing persons.

– “Without warning” –

Among the dead, an 8-year-old boy was killed in dust and a retired 82-year-old.

The victims were drowned or buried under landslides or very cold, while a 16-year-old boy was given an electric shock.

“The floods struck without warning,” said Munarset from her flooded neighborhood in West Jakarta, where dozens of local families fled, adding that “the water advanced very quickly and it rose rapidly. We could not get our needs out, and my car too.”

The city’s airport was also closed and some train lines were suspended.

Heavy rains led to landslides on the outskirts of the city.

It is the worst flooding in Jakarta since the one in January 2013 that claimed dozens of lives.

Jakarta, with a population of about thirty million, has been continuously flooded during the rainy season that started at the end of November.

According to the authorities, 31,000 people were evacuated due to the floods, but this number does not include the residents of the cities on the outskirts of the capital.

Work has been temporarily suspended at Halim Perdanakusuma airport, which only receives commercial and military aircraft, due to the flood of water on its runways, according to the Ministry of Transport. It reopened Thursday. Some of his flights were diverted to Jakarta’s main airport, Soekarno-Hatta.

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