Four people from one family were found dead in their home in Semarang, Central Java, on Wednesday night, having apparently been electrocuted when their refrigerator short-circuited after the house became inundated by floodwater some 30 centimeters deep.
The victims have been identified as bank employee Agus Susanto, 50, and his three children: Regina, 18, Nicolas, 12, and Alexandro, 10. They lived on Jl. Mukti Graha B 12, Muktiharjo Kidul subdistrict,
Pedurungan district, Semarang.
Rico Hastono, 19, a close friend of Regina’s, said that he saw the lights were on at the time he visited the house at about 8 p.m. on Wednesday. “I peeped in at a window and saw them all sprawled out” he said, adding that he then called neighbors for assistance.
Local neighborhood unit (RT) head Suratman, 57, said Agus and Nicolas’ bodies were found near the refrigerator, while Regina was slumped in a chair and Alexandro was laying next to the chair. The children’s mother had died two years ago.
The four bodies were taken at 11:15 p.m. to the Dr Kariadi General Hospital for autopsy. Feri Pedro, a member of the search and rescue (SAR) team that recovered the bodies, said they were already blue when found, indicating that they had died quite some time before.
Pedurungan police precinct chief Comr. Yudi Artowiyono said the police were still investigating the incident. “No wounds were found on the victims’ bodies except a blood spot on Agus. He might have fallen to the ground with some impact,” he said.
He also said that the lower part of the refrigerator was indeed submerged in water but he could not yet confirm if it had caused the fatalities. As of Thursday afternoon, the police were conducting a reconstruction of the incident at the site.
Areas in Semarang have been flooded for the past few days due to heavy downpours across the region, forcing some residents to evacuate from their homes.
Separately in Yogyakarta, in anticipation of the extreme weather, the Yogyakarta Disaster Mitigation Agency (BPBD) has established 50 emergency posts to operate around the clock during the next 60 days.
The posts are spread across four regencies and one municipality in the province and are prepared to address the specific disaster characteristics of each region.
The posts in Yogyakarta city and Sleman and Bantul regencies are focused on dealing more with flooding, while those in Gunungkidul and Kulonprogo are geared up for landslides.
“Extreme weather is indicated by the heavy downpours, which pose a threat of flooding and landslides,” BPBD head Gatot Saptadi said when officially launching the posts at the Sleman District Military Command on Thursday.
Heavy downpours in the province may cause not only floods but also volcanic mudflow, as some 70 million cubic meters of volcanic material from Mount Merapi’s 2010 eruptions are predicted to still be on the slopes of the volcano.
Gatot said his agency had also set up a quick response team (TRC) that would be on 24/7 standby.
The Yogyakarta TRC chief, Wahyu Pristiawan, said the team would conduct technical and strategic studies on disaster management. It would also cooperate with other relevant institutions including local communities, the police and the military.
“For the next 60 days, we will be operating in disaster-prone regions,” Wahyu said.