Scores still missing after Indonesian dam bursts

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March 29, 2009 03:26

 
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Search and rescue teams dug through the mud with their bare hands and hoes in search of more than 100 people still missing after a dam burst outside Indonesia's capital. With hope fading, they predicted the death toll of 77 would rise sharply. The tragedy occurred when a large lake bordering a low-lying residential area southwest of Jakarta overflowed following a torrential downpour. Water first cascaded over the rim of the Dutch-colonial dam and then, hours later, a huge section of the earth wall tore away, sending muddy water crashing into homes like a tsunami, tossing cars, toppling utility poles, and dragging bodies for kilometers. Some residents blamed authorities Saturday, saying the 76-year-old dam had been poorly maintained. They said blocked spillways had lead to repeated flooding over the years, weakening it in several points.

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