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Tremors scare Java quake victims, bird flu threat

June 3, 2006

By Michael Perry

BANTUL, Indonesia (Reuters) – Aftershocks rattled
Indonesia’s quake-ravaged region overnight, spreading panic
among thousands of homeless survivors, as aid groups rushed to
deliver clean water and warned of an increased threat of bird
flu.

Several aftershocks, which Indonesia’s Meteorology and
Geophysics Agency said registered about magnitude 4, shook the
region overnight, sending many survivors running from their
makeshift tents.

“Last night and this morning I felt some quakes. I was
sleeping. I just ran away, out of the tent,” said 40-year-old
Hardady, who lives in the village of Kerten, which was badly
hit by the quake.

The World Health Organization (WHO) said on Saturday that
the magnitude 6.3 quake, which flattened villages in Yogyakarta
and Central Java provinces at dawn a week ago and killed over
6,200, had forced some survivors to seek shelter in poultry
sheds.

“Is there an increased threat and danger? Yes, it’s
something we have to be very watchful of,” a WHO spokeswoman
told Reuters. “In Indonesia there’s been a high record of human
cases and we have to look out for avian flu.”

Poultry across Indonesia have died from bird flu, but the
36 human deaths reported since the disease emerged in the
country in late 2003. No human deaths have been recorded in the
quake zone.

WHO is also concerned about the spread of diarrhea, cholera
and viral hepatitis, but said there were no reports of
outbreaks.

Aid groups are distributing 65,000 jerry cans with water
purification kits in the two provinces, which can provide a
family of five with clean water for a month.

“Dirty water is causing skin infections, especially in
young children,” Korean doctor Hong Kwong Moon said in the
village of Kerten. “There are also some cases of diarrhea here.
The water is contaminated, people are washing with it and it
infects skin.”

AFTERSHOCK PANIC

The United Nations has unveiled plans for a $103 million
six-month relief operation to provide aid like emergency
shelter, medical assistance, clean water, sanitation, food and
child protection across the quake-devastated region.

Last week’s quake reduced more than 100,000 homes to rubble
and many in the region are now living in flimsy shelters in
front of what used to be their homes.

In the small village of Tangkil in the hills high above
Yogyakarta, 440 km east of the Indonesian capital Jakarta,
36-year-old Rina Khoiriyah stands by the side of the winding
road crying as she hands out hand-written letters asking for
help.

Addressed to “those that have kind hearts,” the letters
say: “To continue our lives we really need you to help us.”

“I could not save anything, none of my valuables,”
Khoiriyah cried. “All my furniture and beds are in the
collapsed house. It is buried. It is all gone, it is all I
had.”

The government’s official quake death toll remains at
6,234. The social ministry’s disaster task force has also said
33,231 people had serious injuries and 12,917 people had minor
injuries.

Sultan Hamengkubuwono X of Yogyakarta, a descendant of the
island’s royal family, said he shared the misery of his people.

“We have to accept this fate. This is our trial,” he told
reporters. “What is important is we have to be ready to face
the future. The government will do our best to help.”

(Additional reporting by Lewa Pardomuan and Diyan Jari)


Source: reuters



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