Shophouses collapse in East Java after river overflows, eroding foundation

Shophouses-collapse-in-East-Java-after-river-overflows-eroding-foundation Residents stand near a decrepit shop that collapsed on Jl. Sultan Agung Jember, East Java, on Monday. The Jompo department store collapsed due to the collapse of part of the road, one of the main roads of Jember city. (Antara/Seno)

Source: The Jakarta Post
Date: 3 March 2020

Nine shophouses at the Jompo shopping complex in Kaliwates district, Jember regency, East Java, collapsed on Monday morning after a nearby river overflowed due to heavy rainfall.

National Disaster Mitigation Agency (BNPB) spokesperson Agus Wibowo said the overflowed Kalijompo River had eroded the buildings' foundation, causing them to collapse at around 4 a.m. after heavy rains poured down on most parts of Jember for days.

"Authorities found cracks on the ground below the structures in February 2019," Agus said in a statement on Monday.

The incident inflicted no casualties, as the shophouses had been left vacant for months.

"The incident, however, caused cracks [on the ground] and land subsidence around 94 meters long and 10 meters wide at the site. The road in front of the shops also subsided around 43 meters long and 10 meters wide," Agus said, adding debris from the shop had blocked the river.

Agus said the collapse also damaged water pipes and electricity power transmission and communication cable systems in the area. Damage to the road also caused severe traffic congestion on Monday.

A joint team comprising personnel of the Jember administration, local disaster mitigation agency, the Indonesian Military and search and rescue agency has been working to clear the debris from the river and repair the retaining wall of the Kalijompo River, which was damaged when the river overflowed.

"We suggest residents living along the river banks to stay alert as water levels could rise again due to bad weather conditions in Jember and its surrounding area," Agus said.

Heavy downpour since Sunday evening caused flooding in several regions across Jember. According to the BNPB, floodwaters deluged 752 houses in Jember, displacing at least 2,555 residents. Authorities began distributing supplies to the affected residents on Tuesday morning.

The Meteorology, Climatology and Geophysics Agency (BMKG) previously predicted that several regions across the archipelago would experience extreme weather conditions. The agency said East Java would be given the waspada (caution) status alongside Aceh, West Sumatra, South Sumatra, Banten, Yogyakarta, West Nusa Tenggara, Central Kalimantan and East Kalimantan.

The BMKG predicted extreme weather conditions of heavy rainfall and strong winds to continue throughout March.

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