Indonesia: Diseases spread as Pekanbaru flood worsens

Rizal Harahap The Jakarta Post 5 Dec 17;

Flooding from the overflowing of Siak River in Pekanbary, Riau, has reportedly worsened and triggered the spread of various diseases in the area.

Five days into the disaster, floodwaters have reached Palas and Meranti subdistricts, Rumbai district, and Bambu Kuning subdistrict in Tenayan Raya district.

According the Pekanbaru Social Affairs Agency, 3,567 households or 10,887 people have been affected by the flood.

“Those subdistricts are densely populated areas. Most of the inundated houses are located at the Siak riverbank and its tributaries,” Pekanbaru Social Affairs Agency head Chairani said on Tuesday.

Pekanbaru Health Agency head Helda S. Munir said several contagious diseases, such as diarrhea, influenza and pruritus had started to spread among the flood victims.

“Victims of natural disasters are always vulnerable to those diseases," she said.

Helda added that the agency's flood response focused on school-aged children who will be facing their end-of-semester exams.

“Children are the most vulnerable to contagious diseases," she said. "We need to keep them healthy so they can sit their exams."

The Pekanbaru Health Agency has readied dozens of medical personnel at special posts, Puseksmas (community health centers) and district offices affected by the floods.

"So far, no one has had to be hospitalized because of a contagious disease," Helda said.

“We have told residents who feel unwell or itchy to go to the nearest health center for a free check-up.” (kmt/ebf)

Two children die as floods strike Medan
Apriadi Gunawan The Jakarta Post 5 Dec 17;

Heavy downpours in North Sumatra in the past few days have caused landslides and flooding that have claimed at least two lives.

Two children died in floods in Medan Maimon district, Medan city, on Sunday, local authorities said. The victims M. Noval, 4, and M. Ikhsan, 7, were reportedly washed away when floods hit their homes in the city.

The floodwater also inundated roads in Medan and caused traffic congestion, including in front of North Sumatra Police headquarters on Jl. Sisingamangaraja.

Landslides were also reported in Adiantkoting village, North Tapanuli regency, on Monday following days of heavy rain. The landslides blocked the road connecting Tarutung to Sibolga regency.

One resident, Udin, said he had to stay overnight in his car as he could not pass the road because of the landslides.

“I waited for more than nine hours stuck in Adiantkoting village,” said the Sibolga resident, who wished to travel to Medan.

The head of Medan Meteorology, Climatology and Geophysics Agency (BMKG) Edison Kurniawan said the rain was expected to last for several more days.

“There is still the potential for heavy rains in the next few days so people need to be alert for floods, landslides and heavy seas around North Sumatra,” he told The Jakarta Post on Tuesday. (vla/rin)