Indonesia: “Mini-Tsunami” hits village as dam collapses

Last Friday the Situ Gintung dike collapsed in Indonesia which killed almost a hundred people and injured 190 others. At least 300 houses were destroyed and 1,600 residents were displaced. The dike which holds some two million cubic meters of water is located outside Jakarta. The dike was built by the Dutch colonial government more than 76 years ago to provide irrigation near the area. The extent of the tragedy reminded many Indonesians about the deadly tsunami which hit the region five years ago.

The government blamed the heavy rains for the collapse of the Situ Gintung dike. But many bloggers disagree that it was a natural disaster.

Enda uploads a Google map which shows the location of the dam and the affected villages

Nitiamonto lives close to the area and describes the situation after the tragedy:

yesterday I got too many phone calls in a row asking about the condition of my house. I live close to Situ Gintung. my place is in a higher area.

I can’t go anywhere. they diverted the main road and crazy traffic around the road. local government should rebuild the dam immediately because if they don’t, I can’t imagine if the rain starts to pour, a heavy rain, situ gintung area does not have dam to accommodate the water.

andhari criticizes the local government for its failure to fix the dike:

I’m really sorry for what happened and it’s crazy what happened with people dying and mothers losing their babies. Traumatizing. This won’t happen if the local government at least have a brain or dignity to try to fix things.

Check this YouTube video which shows the damage caused by the bursting of the dam

Jakartass explains what exacerbated the disaster:

What has exacerbated the disaster has been the blinkered approach of administration officials. The dam was constructed during Dutch colonial times, without cement. Naturally it needs constant monitoring and maintenance. Not unexpectedly, it pains me to say, this was not considered important enough by the responsible agency.

Life in Indonesia mentions that the leaks in the dike were reported a year ago which means the government could have repaired and strengthened the dam:

The main tragedy is this could have been prevented since the local residents say they had already informed officials of small leakages during the past year. Officials replied that they were low on funds (?!) and could not repair them. On the news, you can see many political parties were quick to offer aid. Yup, you've guessed it…elections are coming up.

Lesson for Indonesia: Maintenance is important! Prevention is important!

A short video of the flooding in a village after the dike collapsed

The tragedy occurred while election campaign is in full swing in Indonesia. Gempur Media is looking for any meaning on this coincidence:

Once again, the tragedy happen while this country is conducting the election.

Is this a sign to our politician who do not care about environment? Or is this a sign that all of us did the destruction for long time? I’ve no idea all about this.

For me, this is a sign for us who cares about this country. What is goin on?


Via Twitter, the reactions of Indonesians about the disaster:

didilaksana: just realized the station is flooded with passengers from situ gintung area. they're looking better alternatives than using cars/motorcycles

irahmansyah: just passed Situ Gintung. It's pretty crowded. Tried to see the situation but had no luck.

drk126: Moving on from my whiny-ness; my heart goes to the victims and survivors of Situ Gintung, my prayer goes out to u.

kudanmarco: raining cats n dogs | still praying 4 d people in Situ Gintung n all areas affected by flood | for you too, super rich govt employees

gabhii: have you guys heard about the Dam Disaster in Jakarta, Indonesia? It's really bad disaster, seems like Tsunami and it happened at Midnight.

larasati: Guys, give your best for the victims of Situ Gintung dam collapsed. Let it be money, goods or prayers!

harpianto: “damed good time,dawn make me sad,the dam broken now,gintung talk take many life, i lost my brother…missing contact”

vmahmud: is grateful for not being in the path of that burst dam, which is actually around 10km from my house. Digerati unite and start a fund drive!

Twitter user Gabhii uploaded these pictures through Twitpic


Other photos of the dam collapse are also available in the blogs of Hardship Posting and Arsip Blog


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