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At least two hurt in Jakarta building collapse

AFP / Share:
A rescuer looks up at a five-storey building after part of the structure collapsed in Jakarta on January 6, 2020. AFP

JAKARTA (AFP) – A five-storey building in Jakarta partly collapsed Monday morning, injuring at least two people who were taken to hospital, authorities said.

TV images showed about half the building on Jakarta’s western side had caved in with concrete and other debris lying on the road. Rescue officials were seen carrying people out on stretchers.

The structure is a mixed residential-commercial space with a convenience store on the ground floor and small rental units on the upper floors.

“The upper floors of the building were empty, while the second floor was a warehouse and a place for employees to rest,” West Jakarta police chief Audie Latuheru told reporters.

“The employees ran away when they heard creaking sounds. The two injured people were outside of the building when the accident happened,” he added.

Indonesia’s national search and rescue agency said three people were injured.

Initial media reports said eight people were wounded, but police later said that figure included those evacuated from the building.

It was not immediately clear what caused the accident or if it was connected to the flooding sparked by torrential rain in the capital region last week that left more than 60 people dead.

The search and rescue agency said it appeared that the downpours may have played a role.

“We found evidence of flooding on the rooftop and the third and fourth floors had no water drainage system,” said Budi Purnama, national operations director for Indonesia’s search and rescue agency.

“Water had seeped through the walls… the structure couldn’t hold it any longer.”

Police and eyewitness said the accident started shortly after 900 am local time (0200 GMT).

“The building just suddenly collapsed,” eyewitness Ridwan Ria told AFP.

“There was a thundering noise and it happened very quickly. In seconds the building had collapsed.

“There was no sound or weird noise beforehand,” the 60-year-old shop owner added.

Another witness said there was water dripping from the ceiling of the building’s shop on Sunday.

“I noticed since yesterday that something was wrong,” the witness, identified as Juni, told local TV.

“I went to the store yesterday and saw the place was damp with water dripping from the ceiling.”

Police told AFP that another witness, identified as a convenience store employee, said the building had started leaning to one side two years ago.

Lax construction standards have raised widespread concerns about building safety in Indonesia.

In 2018, a group of teenagers practising for a dance and music show were among seven killed when the building they were in collapsed in Cirebon, east of Jakarta.

The same year, at least 75 people were injured when a mezzanine floor at Indonesia’s stock exchange building in Jakarta collapsed into the lobby.

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