Muslim Aid Media Centre

Dam Bursts West of Jakarta

Muslim Aid on the spot to aid the internally displaced

Heavy rains and high winds in Cirendeu village in the district of Tangerang, 20km west of Jakarta triggered the collapse of the Situ Gintung Dam on Thursday 26th March 2009 killing 98 people and leaving 128 missing. Excessive rainfall caused the 16m high dam to overflow, eroding the surface and causing a gaping hole 70 metres wide.

A surge of water and debris, 7 metres high, swept into the town of Cirendeu in the early hours of the morning, engulfing houses and washing away vehicles. Many people were trapped in their homes while others sought shelter on rooftops to avoid the flood waters that reached 2.5 metres high. The water damaged 400 homes, of which 250 were completely destroyed.  The flood also submerged 5 power stations cutting water supplies to the nearby suburb of Lebak Bulus.

More than 368 people were considered internally displaced people (IDPs). Without homes and possessions and having lost loved ones, many survivors were struck with post-disaster trauma with nowhere to turn to for support. Many were temporarily relocated to IDP camps; however this was merely on a short term basis with no long term solutions in sight. The unpredictable wet and cold weather conditions and contaminated water supplies, which would cause the spread of waterborne diseases, all threatened to exacerbate the situation.

Muslim Aid quickly initiated a rapid response assessment of the area and concluded that non-food and emergency supplies were desperately needed. Muslim Aid distributed:

• 140 blankets

• 29,500 strips of Aquatabs to purify water.

• 10,800 sachets of oral rehydration salts to prevent dehydration from diarrhoea.

The majority of relief items were distributed from the campus of Ahmad Dahlan University. Several other volunteers took relief items to the low lying water logged areas which were most affected.  Muslim Aid staff and volunteers spoke to many of the men, women and children affected by the floods and offered them their counsel and support.

“We have identified several areas where items such as clothing, medical supplies and school equipment are greatly still needed”, said Muslim Aid Country Director, Mahfuzur Rahman.

“We are further closely monitoring the situation and keeping regular contact with UN OCHA for the next course of action”, he added.

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