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Displaced Jakartans start suffering food shortages

Publication Date : 22-01-2014

 

After living in shelters for more than a week, thousands of displaced Jakartans have begun to run short of food supplies, baby clothes, mineral water and portable toilets.

“The evacuees now urgently need portable toilets in remote areas such as East Cakung [East Jakarta] and blankets, instant food, mineral water and clean water,” spokesman for the National Disaster Mitigation Agency (BNPB), Sutopo Purwo Nugroho, said in a statement on Tuesday.

Jatinegara district head Syofian said that, generally, evacuees still received three meals a day from the Indonesian Red Cross (PMI), the Social Affairs Agency and other third parties. However, he said 10 emergency kitchens, which served other evacuees in a number of community units (RW), were now in urgent need of staple food supplies.

“Our food supply is running out because, usually, people only donate instant noodles and mineral water. We need eggs, salted fish, rice, coffee, tea and sugar,” he told The Jakarta Post over the phone.

He said it was easy for adults to get second-hand clothes, but it was difficult to get clothes for children under 5. Medical supplies remained sufficient, however, he added.

Jatinegara district, which is traversed by the Ciliwung River, has been badly affected by the flooding, which has lasted for more than a week. Syofian said around 4,100 evacuees were now living in several shelters, including the Otista sports center, the Hermina Hospital, the East Jakarta Sports Agency, the East Jakarta Health Agency and the Koinonia Church.

A number of public and portable toilets are available in the shelters, as well as at a nearby gas station and traditional market. However, some people in Kampung Pulo still prefer to brace the elements and return to the flooded neighborhood to use toilet facilities.

Locals are expecting more major flooding as water levels have reached an alarming height at the Katulampa sluice gate in Bogor following incessant, heavy downpours on Tuesday.

The Ciliwung, Cisadane, Sunter and Cikeas rivers have all burst their banks, threatening Jakarta, Bekasi, Tangerang and South Tangerang. The Regional Disaster Mitigation Agency (BPBD) has warned people living along the riverbanks to remain alert during the night.

According to the BPBD Jakarta, the floods this year have so far affected 128,182 people in 33 districts. The number of evacuees rose to 65,013 people on Tuesday, from 63,958 people on Monday. They are being catered to in 247 shelters across the capital.

As of Tuesday afternoon, 12 people had died as a result of the floods, up from 11 people on Monday.

Data from the city’s Health Agency shows 22,124 evacuees fell ill between Jan. 13 and 21, and 21 of them had sought hospital treatment for seizures, diarrhea, asthma or strokes.

“Most of the evacuees suffered from flu, itchy skin and fever. The largest number of patients lived in Grogol Petamburan and Cengkareng [West Jakarta]. As of Monday, they totaled 1,859 people,” Health Agency head Dien Emawati said.

She added that as many as 17 community health centres (puskesmas) had been inundated by floodwater, but residents could still get medication and health services at nearby health posts.

Dien said the agency was also collaborating with several psychologists to help the children in some of the shelters, so as to avoid any flood-related trauma. Previously on Monday, water levels subsided in some flooded areas. However, flooding in a number of areas is liable to remain as water levels in the rivers rose again after the rain on Tuesday morning.

 

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