Indonesian Earthquake – Story of Destruction, Death and Diseases

by Medindia Content Team on  May 29, 2006 at 3:36 PM Health In Focus   - G J E 4
With the death toll rising to over 3500 and an incalculable number of people injured after the earthquake that measured 6.2 on scale, Indonesia struggles to cope with the injured and the dead.
Indonesian Earthquake – Story of Destruction, Death and Diseases
Indonesian Earthquake – Story of Destruction, Death and Diseases

The quake hit the densely populated area in the south of the city of Yogyakarta which is near the southern coast of Java at 10.53PM late on the Friday night. The earthquake left the city in shambles, cutting off communications and road travel to several areas. Health care officials are finding it immensely difficult to provide even basic healthcare facilities and the necessary aid in several effected areas due to the chaos and road disruptions.

Russia, Japan, Malaysia and the European Union are among several countries that are promising aid to Indonesia. However as always the challenge faced at present is the means to distribute the available aid to the needy. With the cities airport too being closed off due to the cracks and severe damages on the runway transport in and out of the city is proving to be slow and difficult.

The President of Indonesia - Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono has requested the people of Indonesia to come together in the time of this national crisis and appealed to the rescue workers to work around the clock to help save as many as they can. He has also ordered the military to help evacuate the victims from effected areas as soon as possible.

Hospitals in and around the city are full of victims and are overstretched with work. The other problem is that with cracks in the wall of the hospital buildings and with constant aftershocks it's becoming extremely dangerous to use several of these buildings.

With the help of the Red Cross 21 field hospitals units have been set up to treat the injured. Rescue workers are constantly pulling out bodies from under rubble and debris. Due to the magnitude of the earthquake, the number of dead is constantly on a rise hence mass burials are in process. Growing fear mounts as outbreak of common diseases such as Cholera, and Malaria can follow after such a large-scale disaster and result in loss of more lives.


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The WHO has to set up an effective disaster management unit that can reach any such site within 12 hrs of any calamity - be it Tsunami or Earthquake. The team should have a network of doctors and paramedical forces around the world who can volunteer to help in such situations. They need not be on roll of WHO. The WHO should provide the infrastructure to set up a base hospital unit that can accomodate casualties and provide treatment asap. Maybe if WHO cannot do it the red cross should take it up. Every year there are atleast two to three such majot disasters in the world.
guest Monday, May 29, 2006

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