Newcomers warned to avoid water in Poso amid snail fever
Ruslan Sangadji, The Jakarta Post 17 Feb 16;
The government called on newcomers to Poso and Sigi regencies, Central Sulawesi, on Tuesday to avoid contact with water to reduce the risk of contracting an endemic disease called schistosomiasis.
Poso Health Agency head Djani Moula said that as a preventative measure, every newcomer arriving in the regency would be warned not to use the water in the area to avoid being infected with worms known to cause schistosomiasis or “snail fever”.
Schistosomiasis is a parasitic disease caused by worms belonging to the schistosoma genus. There are three types found in humans: Schistosoma japonicum, Schistosoma haematobium and Schistosoma mansoni.
In Indonesia, Schistosoma japonicum is endemic in Central Sulawesi, namely in the Lindu and Napu plateaus in Sigi and Poso. The number of people at risk of contracting schistosomiasis is 15,000.
Djani said the disease could be fatal in a worst-case scenario. Sufferers can recover if properly treated, but the required medication is relatively expensive and is not available in pharmacies in Palu, the provincial capital.
“The medicine has to be specially ordered from the WHO,” he said.
Separately, Central Sulawesi Health Agency head Anshayari Arsyad confirmed that cases of schistosomiasis had been found in Poso and Sigi.
In Poso, schistosomiasis has been found in five districts — East Timur, Lore Peore, Central Lore, South Lore, North Lore and West Lore. In Sigi the disease was found in five subdistricts on the Lindu plain.
“We aim to eradicate the disease until the incidence rate reaches 0 percent,” Anshayari said.
He said the schistosomiasis incidence rate in Poso was 1.39 percent while in Sigi it was only 0.7 percent, following an eradication program conducted by his office last year.
So far, no fatalities have been reported as a result of the disease.
In a bid to accurately target affected areas in the fight against the spread of snail fever, a survey is to be conducted this year in 26 subdistricts across the regencies.
Schistosomiasis starts with the hatching of Schistosoma japonicum eggs in water, called mirasidium, which penetrate the bodies of snails and develop into sporokista I and II, before becoming serkaria.
“It’s this serkaria that swims in the water in search of a new host,” Anshayari said, adding that serkaria could survive in stagnant water for 48 hours before finding a new place to grow.
Anshayari said serkaria could infect 13 mammals including humans, deer, cats, hog deer, cows, horses and buffalos.
Serkaria infects humans through the pores and enters the blood stream before laying eggs in the intestine.
Symptoms of snail fever include coughing and swelling of the stomach. The disease needs an incubation period of 20 years before killing a human sufferer.
The most dangerous scenario, according to Anshayari, was when serkaria reached the liver, where it could grow into adult worms. When the worms lay eggs, they make holes in the walls of the intestine and cause sufferers to defecate blood.
When numerous eggs become trapped in the liver, the body produces connective tissue around the eggs, causing the liver and spleen to swell. This causes victims to suffer from jaundice, weight loss and distended bellies.
Research on schistosomiasis in Indonesia began in 1940, after the disease was found in Tomado subdistrict on the Lindu plateau in 1935.
Kereta Api Indonesia Loses Rp 200m Per Day Due to Porong Flood
Aries Sudiono Jakarta Globe 17 Feb 16;
Sidoarjo, East Java. State-owned rail operator Kereta Api Indonesia (KAI) estimated that it is losing at least Rp 200 million ($14,800) per day due to flooding that occurred at Porong in Sidoarjo district, East Java, last week.
Heavy rains that have been falling in the area from Wednesday last week resulted in the main road, Jalan Raya Porong, being covered by as much as 39 centimeters of mud, which worsened to as much as 60 centimeters within days. This has also submerged the railway lines over a distance of more than 700 meters, preventing as many as 30 trains per day from passing through the area.
"The trains in Porong have not been able to operate since 7:03 p.m on Feb. 11 until today," KAI public relations manager Suprapto said on Wednesday (17/02).
The flooding has caused KAI to suspend trains between Surabaya and Sidoarjo and to transport passengers by bus to train stations beyond Porong. The company has also diverted trains traveling on the Jember-Purwokerto and Banyuwangi-Lempuyangan routes.
The flood further claimed the life of 12-year-old M. Rizki, who was a grade six student at the Gedangan Porong Public School. The boy had been missing since Monday after playing with his friends near the flooded railway line. His body, which was found the following day, has been taken to the National Police Hospital in Porong for an autopsy.
According to Sidoarjoterkini.com, the Sidoarjo Mudflow Mitigation Agency (BPLS) has been using 17 pumps to try and drain the floodwater.
"We have installed five [pump] units at the toll road, two at the Porong toll road exit; three in Ketapang village; one in Mindi urban ward; two in Kedungbendo village; three in Glagaharun village; and KAI has installed one unit at the observation post in Penjarakan village," BPLS spokesman Hengky Listria Adi said on Saturday, as quoted by the local news portal.
A similar situation occurred last year when the railway line was covered with mud, forcing the cancelation of dozens of trains. Ever since the Lapindo mudflow in May 2006, the Porong railway line and highway have been buried under mud regularly, especially after heavy rain, resulting in the transportation system in the area being paralyzed.
Southeast Sulawesi villages inundated as dam overflows
Syofiardi Bachyul Jb, The Jakarta Post 17 Feb 16;
Flash floods hit three villages in East Kabaena district, Bombana regency, Southeast Sulawesi, on Tuesday as a dam belonging to a nickel mining company in the region overflowed.
The flood inundated hundreds of houses and a number of public facilities in Tapuhaka, Dongkala and Lambale.
“Almost all the houses and schools in Tapuhaka, Dongkala and Lambale are inundated by floodwaters 50 centimeters to a meter deep,” East Kabaena SMA I senior high school teacher Aryanti Musnah said over the phone on Tuesday.
Aryanti said heavy rain had poured throughout the region the whole night until Tuesday morning. “But teaching and learning has continued as usual because we are having mid-semester examinations,” Aryanti said as quoted by Antara.
East Kabaena district head Ahnan said the flash floods were also caused by drainage facilities and culverts in residential areas that did not work effectively.
“The culverts are clogged. The pipeline is very small and does not work. As a result there is flooding,” Ahnan said, adding that no fatalities were reported from the incident but financial losses were estimated to reach hundreds of millions of rupiah.
Representatives from the district administration, he said, would soon visit the affected regions to assess the condition of the residents and make an inventory of material losses.
Meanwhile in West Sumatra, after struggling for over a week to scrape together enough food on their own, some 4,000 residents of five villages in Nagari Muaro Sungai Lolo, South Mapat Tunggul district, Pasaman regency, finally received relief as aid from the government reached them.
South Mapat Tunggul district administration secretary Juliater Ginting said that over 20 landslides had occurred along the road to the five affected villages and an 18-meter-long concrete bridge was also damaged. To clear the debris, heavy equipment has been deployed.
“Since yesterday afternoon motorcycles can already pass through two villages and another village can be reached by motorboats. So far, the remaining two villages can only be reached up to the last landslide,” Juliater told The Jakarta Post via phone on Tuesday.
The floods that hit West Sumatra on Sunday and Monday last week covered almost 1,000 houses in the five villages with water over 1.5 meters deep and people sought refuge in taller buildings such as schools and community health centers.
The flood also severely damaged two houses and moderately damaged four others. Almost all affected people lost some of their possessions, and remained homeless for several days.
He also expressed worries about the fate of people in the area over the next three months as 42 hectares of rice fields had just been planted.
“We really hope there will be more aid for them,” Juliater said.
The West Sumatra Disaster Mitigation Agency (BPBD) has said it can not yet release information about the floods and landslides or the financial losses caused by the extreme weather as the BPBD in the affected regencies and cities had not yet filed reports on the matter to the provincial BPBD office.
The floods and landslides affected ten regencies and cities in West Sumatra, with Pasaman, Lima Puluh Kota and South Solok the worst-hit regencies.
Newcomers warned to avoid water in Poso amid snail fever