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Malaria threat emerges in tsunami stricken region BANDA ACEH - Health officials geared up to go door to door with mosquito-killing spray guns Friday to head off a looming threat that one expert says could kill 100,000 more people around the tsunami disaster zone: malaria. Relief workers, meanwhile, warned that new rules requiring them to travel with armed escorts in Indonesia's devastated Aceh province could cause bottlenecks in aid delivery and harm their reputation for independence.
"We discourage such actions because it blurs the distinction between humanitarian and military efforts,'' said Eileen Burke of Save the Children. All across disaster-hit southern Asia, fresh challenges confronted the massive aid effort. In India's remote Andaman islands, Red Cross officials accused government workers of stealing their relief materials. In Sri Lanka, UNICEF said Tamil Tiger rebels were recruiting tsunami-affected children into their ranks.
In Aceh, the threat of cholera and dysentery outbreaks is diminishing because clean water is getting to tsunami survivors, but the danger of malaria and dengue fever epidemics is increasing, said Richard Allan, director of the Mentor Initiative, a public health group that fights malaria epidemics. The death toll from the earthquake and tsunami has topped 157,000 across 11 countries - with two-thirds of the casualties in Aceh. Allan warned that an outbreak of malaria could take an additional 100,000 lives around the Indian Ocean if authorities don't act quickly.
He said the pools of salt water created by the Dec. 26 tsunami have been diluted by seasonal rains into a brackish water "creating the largest single set of (mosquito) breeding sites that Indonesia has ever seen.'' The cornerstone of the anti-malaria offensive is the insecticide spraying operation, where fumigators will go house to house in the city of Banda Aceh. Elsewhere in Indonesia, the main defense will be pesticide-impregnated plastic sheeting.
Complicating relief efforts, the Indonesian military says aid workers must have armed escorts when traveling in much of Aceh because rebels are operating in the area. Humanitarian organizations said they have not had any problems. Indonesia's moves - which include an order that aid workers declare their travel plans or face expulsion - highlight its sensitivities over foreign involvement in the humanitarian effort, especially that of foreign troops.
Indonesia wants foreign troops out of the country by late March. However, U.S. State Department spokesman Richard Boucher said Indonesian authorities had informed the United States there is no departure deadline for its troops. "Nobody is asking us to go home,'' Boucher said. "The Indonesian statement about three months, they tell us, was intended as an estimate about how long the military part of the operation might be necessary.''
Survivors among the tens of thousands living in refugee camps in Banda Aceh have welcomed the foreign troops, who have been flying helicopter aid missions to otherwise inaccessible areas and running field hospitals. "If they leave, we will starve,'' said Syarwan, 27, a tailor who is living with some 45 relatives under a tarp at a camp. In India, aid workers complained that government officials were hampering their travel to the federally run Andaman and Nicobar islands - where 55,000 people are living in relief camps - and seizing their supplies.



Posted in Earthquake @ 14 January 2005 00:01 CET by Jeroen · 'Blog' RSS feed · permalink

indahnesia.com lists all earthquakes that occur in Indonesia. For your convenience we display them in a list and a Google Map. It is as accurate and recent as you can imagine as we check for updates every few minutes. If an earthquake occurs in Indonesia, this is the place to check it out in the first place.






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