Days of torrential downpours had filled a large lake bordering the low-lying residential area southwest of the Indonesian capital to flooding point. A huge section of the Dutch colonial-era dike tore away at around 2am.
More than two million cubic meters of water rushed through the gaping hole, flooding and inundating 400 houses. Soldiers and police called for rescue operations carried bodies to a mosque for burial, while hospitals got filled with those seriously hurt.
The destruction resembled the devastating 2004 tsunami that killed lakhs of people. Tent camps were erected on high ground for hundreds of people made homeless.
"We need to find a way to take better care of these Dutch-era dams. Otherwise, there will be more problems like this," said a resident.
Seasonal heavy downpours cause flash floods each year in Indonesia that hosts over 235 million people.
President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono and Vice President Jusuf Kalla, met the survivors and promised generous help and compensation to families of victims.