In­done­sia drops dis­in­fec­tant on ar­eas oblit­er­ated by quake

The Myanmar Times - Weekend - - Asean Focus -

HELICOPTERS were drop­ping dis­in­fec­tant on neigh­bour­hoods in the earth­quake- and tsunami-stricken city of Palu to re­duce the risk of dis­ease from the thou­sands of vic­tims be­lieved to have been buried alive in the catas­tro­phe, In­done­sia’s dis­as­ter agency said Thurs­day.

The agency said that 430 hectares of land and nearly 3500 homes were de­stroyed when liq­ue­fac­tion turned soft soil to mud in Cen­tral Su­lawesi dur­ing the Septem­ber 28 earth­quake.

Spokesman Su­topo Purwo Nu­groho said in a state­ment the dis­in­fec­tant is nec­es­sary for three dev­as­tated neigh­bour­hoods be­cause of the large num­ber of vic­tims not re­cov­ered by the search and res­cue ef­fort that ended on Oc­to­ber 12.

“Bomb­ing and spray­ing of dis­in­fec­tants is an ef­fort to an­tic­i­pate the spread of dis­eases through vec­tors such as flies, cock­roaches, and mice,” he said.

Some ground spray­ing was also car­ried out but much of the land is too un­sta­ble to do that com­pre­hen­sively.

The mag­ni­tude 7.4 quake and 11-me­tre-high tsunami wave, which dev­as­tated miles of coast­line, killed 2103 peo­ple. Dis­as­ter of­fi­cials say an­other 5000 peo­ple from neigh­bour­hoods swal­lowed by liq­ue­fac­tion re­main un­ac­counted for.

Of­fi­cials say the de­stroyed Palu neigh­bour­hoods of Balaroa and Pe­tobo, and Jono Oge in neigh­bour­ing Sigi dis­trict, can­not be re­de­vel­oped. Balaroa and Pe­tobo will be turned into green spa­ces with mon­u­ments to those who per­ished.

Ah­mad Yurianto, head of the Min­istry of Health’s cri­sis cen­tre, said ground­wa­ter needs to be checked reg­u­larly for con­tam­i­na­tion and drainage es­tab­lished to col­lect rain­wa­ter be­fore it en­ters the city’s river.

The In­done­sian gov­ern­ment is con­sid­er­ing a 6 tril­lion ru­piah (K624.1 bil­lion/us$394 mil­lion) plan to build “New Palu City,” and the World Bank has said it can pro­vide the coun­try up to $1 bil­lion in loans for re­con­struc­tion and im­prov­ing dis­as­ter pre­pared­ness.

“It is im­pos­si­ble to re­build homes in the orig­i­nal places,” pub­lic works and hous­ing min­is­ter Ba­soeki Hadi­moeljono told re­porters ear­lier this week.

The In­done­sian Red Cross said Thurs­day there is a mas­sive ef­fort un­der­way to dis­trib­ute 215 met­ric tonnes of relief such as tar­pau­lins, clean drink­ing wa­ter and other items to tens of thou­sands of dis­placed peo­ple be­fore mon­soon rains set in.

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