The death toll from floods in Indonesia's capital rose to 43 Friday as rescuers found more bodies amid receding floodwaters, disaster officials said. Monsoon rains and rising rivers submerged at least 182 neighborhoods in greater Jakarta and caused landslides in the Bogor and Depok districts on the city's outskirts as well as in neighboring Lebak, which buried a dozen people.
National Disaster Mitigation Agency spokesman Agus Wibowo said the fatalities also included those who had drowned or been electrocuted since rivers broke their banks Wednesday after extreme torrential rains throughout New Year's Eve. Three elderly people died of hypothermia.
It was the worst flooding since 2013 when 57 people were killed after Jakarta was inundated by monsoon rains. Floodwaters started receding in some parts of the city Thursday evening, enabling residents to return to their homes. Wibowo said about 397,000 people sought refuge in shelters across the greater metropolitan area as their peak floodwaters reached as high as 6 meters in some places.
The head of the Meteorology, Climatology and Geophysics Agency Dwikorita Karnawati said more downpours were forecast for the capital in the coming days and the potential for extreme rainfall will continue until next month across Indonesia. The government Friday kicked off cloud seeding in an attempt to divert rain clouds from reaching greater Jakarta. Authorities warned that more flooding was possible until the rainy season ends in April.