50 Killed In Dam Burst In Indonesia


(RTTNews) - A dam in Lake Situ Gintung in Indonesia's Tangerang District, southwest of the capital Jakarta, burst in the early hours of Friday morning, causing a 10-foot high "mini tsunami" and killing scores of persons besides leaving hundreds of homes submerged, media reports say. The century-old 32-foot-high dam, which was built while Indonesia was still under Dutch colonial rule, was holding back around 70 million cubic feet of water of the Pesanggrahan river.

The wall of water tore through the crowded neighborhood in Cirendeu, an industrial area on the outskirts of south Jakarta, killing more than 50 persons, including four children. An official said most of the dead had drowned in the flash-flood, and the death toll was expected to rise as many persons were sleeping when the disaster occurred and were unable to escape.

Health Ministry Crisis Center chief said the dam completely destroyed some houses and inundated more than 400 others.

Friday, rescuers waded through chest-deep water and used rubber rafts to search for survivors who may be trapped in their houses. A dozen persons remained missing, while more than 20 persons were reported to have been treated at nearby hospitals.

Telephone lines were toppled and some cars were swept hundreds of feet away. In some places water levels reached rooftops and bodies were seen floating alongside chairs, clothing and other debris amid the murky brown water in the flooded neighborhood.

Flood strikes the region regularly during the rainy season, but this time the rain was so heavy that the Situ Gintung dam could not handle it. An official of the National Disaster Management Agency (NDMA) said that heavy rain made the volume of the dam increase rapidly, and the water gate was too small to channel the huge volume of water.

Local people said that the catastrophe started Thursday afternoon when heavy rains till dusk at 6 p.m. made the dam full. At 12 a.m. Friday, the dam started to crack and few minutes later the dam collapsed.

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