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Indonesia mini-market collapse kills 5 as search for survivors continues

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Rescue personnel evacuating victims from the scene of a mini-market building which collapsed on April 18 in Martapura, Banjar regency, South Kalimantan. AFP

Indonesia mini-market collapse kills 5 as search for survivors continues

Rescue workers in Indonesia were searching for survivors Tuesday after a mini-market collapse killed five people and injured nine, in a country where lax construction standards have raised concerns about building safety.

The three-floor building in Borneo island’s Banjar district suddenly crumpled on Monday afternoon while it was filled with customers and employees before Muslims broke their daily fast for the Islamic holy month of Ramadan.

Emergency services were dispatched to the scene to dig overnight, pulling five bodies from the rubble and freeing nine people, South Kalimantan Police spokesman Mochammad Rifai told AFP.

“We had a report that there were in total 14 people, all of them had been found,” he said Tuesday by phone.

“However, we have not closed the search and rescue operation yet in case there are any more victims.”

Footage from the Search and Rescue Agency showed rescuers extracting two men alive from the debris, before one of them raised his hands to the workers and knelt for a brief prayer.

Rifai said police were sent to the scene to investigate the cause of the collapse, which has not been given.

“The mini-market building, as well as a lot of buildings in Banjar, stand on peatland so flooding is usual. But we cannot conclude that is the cause of the accident,” he said.

In 2020, at least two people were injured as a five-storey building in Jakarta partly collapsed.

Previously, 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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