Authorities look for missing in Indonesia dam break as toll hits 67
The number of people killed after a dam broke near Jakarta rose to 67 Saturday as authorities searched for the missing, police and officials said, according to dpa.
Estimates for the number of missing ranged from 22 to 78 after the Situ Gintung dam in the Tangerang district, 50 kilometres south Indonesia's capital, collapsed early Friday, sending water crashing into a crowded residential area.
"The number of people missing remains unclear," said Rustam Pakaya, head of the Health Ministry's Crisis Centre. "There seems to be a lack of coordination among agencies."
The flood inundated hundreds of homes, sweeping away many of them, as residents were sleeping. Some survivors likened the disaster to a tsunami.
Edi Waluyo, an officer at the local police station in the Ciputat area, said soldiers, police and volunteers took part in the search involving mechanical excavators and bulldozers.
"Our effort is still focused on searching for the missing," he said.
Edi said there had been a steady stream of aid supplies such as food, clothes and medicine provided for the survivors, many of whom are staying at local universities.
The area is home to several universities and colleges.
There have been individual appeals for aid on social-networking websites, such as Facebook.
Residents said hours of heavy rain on Thursday might have caused the 15-metre-high dam to break.
Television footage taken from a helicopter showed a gaping hole and widespread devastation in the area near the dam.
The dam was built in 1933 as an artificial lake when Indonesia was under Dutch rule and holds 2 million cubic metres of water.
A leading Indonesian environmental group, Walhi, told the German Press Agency dpa on Friday that there was another breach at the dam in November although it did not cause damage.
"It should have served as a warning that the dam was vulnerable," said the director of the Jakarta branch of Walhi, Slamet Daryoni.
"Authorities should have devised an early warning system for residents," he said. "This is the fruit of negligence."