Multa Fidrus , The Jakarta Post , Tangerang | Fri, 04/03/2009 2:18 PM | Headlines
Police will question three Tangerang regency and South Tangerang municipal administration officials over the Situ Gintung disaster.
One of the officials, Dedi Sutardi, the head of the Tangerang Public Works Agency, said Thursday he would go to the Jakarta Police headquarters without a lawyer because he would testify only as a witness.
His agency is responsible for the maintenance and rehabilitation of the Situ Gintung reservoir.
The other two are Dedy’s predecessor at the agency, Hermansyah, and the newly installed South Tangerang Public Works Agency head, Eddy Adolf Nicolas Malonda.
Police corruption unit chief Adj. Sr. Comr. Aris Munandar said the questioning would begin Friday.
On Wednesday, National Police spokesman Insp. Gen. Abubakar Nataprawira said police had begun looking for evidence and questioning officials, experts and local residents to determine whether the disaster was caused by negligence.
“At the moment, we haven’t decided whether the embankment collapsed due to weather conditions or lack of maintenance. Once we have enough evidence and testimony, we will be able to determine who should be held responsible,” he told The Jakarta Post on Wednesday.
A National Police forensics team arrived at the reservoir Tuesday.
Selamet Daroyni, executive director of the Indonesian Forum for the Environment’s (Walhi) Jakarta branch, said local residents believed negligence was the main factor in the collapse of the embankment.
“Some locals told me they began noticing small cracks appearing in the embankment of the dam in the last two years,” he said.
Trisakti University urban planning expert Yayat Supriatna said Sunday the authorities’ failure to maintain the reservoir extended well before this.
Pitoyo Subandrio, head of the Ciliwung-Cisadane Flood Bureau at the Public Works Ministry, insisted the collapse was purely down to adverse weather condition.
“The rainfall was extremely unpredictable, causing the water volume to increase drastically,” he said.
The ensuing flash flood claimed 100 lives, with several people still reported missing.
Another 600 people were made homeless, forced to seek refuge at the nearby Muhammadiyah University Jakarta (UMJ).
On Thursday, Banten Governor Ratu Atut Chosiyah visited the area and said she had prepared a “more proper” shelter at the Wisma Kerta Mukti building. Those sheltering at UMJ will be relocated Saturday.
She added the displaced people could stay at the new shelter until the government had finished rebuilding their homes.
Victims and volunteer workers at the UMJ shelter continued to be bombarded with an outpouring of relief aid, with some of the aid items outnumbering the victims.
“There’s an overload of relief aid for the victims, and it keeps pouring in. We have no idea what to do with it,” said Rahmat Sahlan, the main disaster post coordinator. (bbs)