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Death toll rising in Borneo camps JAKARTA - Indonesian migrant workers living in camps in the East Kalimantan town of Nunukan are continuing to die in squalid conditions, bringing the death toll to 67, according to local relief workers. The latest death toll covers the period of May 12 to September 1, according to the Concerned Post for Humanity, and forty percent of the victims were babies and small children, who died of diarrhea as a result of malnutrition. "There is no milk in this camp and the mothers of these babies are too ill themselves to breast-feed them. The situation is really sad," Vincent Tius, spokesman for the group, told CNN.
The groups sleep in open spaces, marketplaces and on sidewalks across towns. The squalid conditions make them vulnerable to malaria and respiratory problems which are the major cause of deaths among adults. Tius says many of the workers are weakened by the arduous journey from the Malaysian state of Sabah, cramming themselves into jam-packed ships ferrying them out of the country for the short journey. "You have 400-500 people packed into a ship. By the time they arrive, they are very weak. Some of them are dying. Their condition is worsened by the squalid conditions of the camp where there is a shortage of clean water. They then succumb to malaria and respiratory problems," said Tius.
Most of the workers drink unsanitised water due to an acute shortage of stoves, according to Tius. "This water comes from the river and is untreated," he said. Nunukan is located some 1,700 km (1,056 miles) northeast of Jakarta. It became the landing point for thousands of Indonesian workers fleeing Malaysia after Kuala Lumpur cracked down on an estimated 600,000 illegal workers, the majority of whom come from Indonesia.



Posted in Health @ 03 September 2002 00:01 CET by Jeroen · 'Blog' RSS feed · permalink






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