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Situation in Java


From Michael Kocher of the IRC via Reuters AlertNet, a vivid update on the situation in Central Java:

The Indonesian government, finally asking for help, estimates $3 billion is needed for reconstruction. Where this will come from is altogether uncertain. Yet by their actions international governments and multi-lateral donors still seem to feel the situation is under control, with minimal need for outside aid.

They are wrong.

Many villages, those off the paved roads, have received little to no assistance. In Bantul, Sleman and Kletan, the three most affected districts, entire communities are without access to sustainable supplies of water, toilets and bathing facilities. People turn instead to brackish rivers. The potential for the outbreak of diseases, even epidemics, is high and will increase as sanitation conditions worsen.

Donors see Indonesian government plans to give cash, allowing families to rebuild homes, as justification for their disinterest. It's a good idea and avoids the mistake in Aceh of putting people into "temporary" shelters that inevitably become something else. But in Central Java this money will take time to disperse, not reach everyone it should, and do nothing to address immediate problems. Disease may not wait. And experience plus current conditions shows the ability of the government alone to provide key services should not be overestimated. Emergency supplies like tarpaulins, tents and hygiene products are far short of what's required to meet even basic needs, much less answer public health concerns. That Mt. Merapi volcano could erupt any day strains local capacity further still. (More)

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Comments:

Blogger Joe said . . .

With America's short attention span, the situation in Java has quickly slipped to the "back page" of the news. I guess Michael Jackson and phone-dialing Beagle's (see CNN.com) are more important to American journalists. Even on NPR, about the only references I have been hearing to Indonesia are occasional references to the political situation in East Timor. Sigh.    

10:47 AM, June 20, 2006


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