Medicine stocks for tsunami victims are adequate: minister

Medicine stocks for tsunami victims are adequate: minister

President Joko Widodo (left) and Health Minister Nila Moeloek (right) observed the tsunami-hit area in Pasawahan village, Carita, Pandeglang, Banten on Monday (24/12/2018). ANTARA PHOTO/Asep Fathulrahman/foc.

South Lampung, Lampung, (ANTARA News) - Health Minister Nila F. Moeloek confirmed that medicine stocks for victims of the Sunda Strait tsunami are adequate.

"Medicines are adequate. I have looked at it. If the stocks happen to run short, the Health Service could supply it," the minister informed reporters here on Tuesday.

She remarked that the central government also has a buffer stock, so there is no reason to harbor concerns over the medicine stocks.

The minister appealed to the victims staying in makeshift locations to maintain their health, as staying in refugee camps can make them prone to contracting respiratory disease (ISPA).

"If you are sleeping in refugee camps in open air and it rains, you will be highly prone to contracting ISPA," the minister added.

In the meantime, the death toll from the tsunami disaster in Sunda Strait that hit the provinces of Banten and Lampung, until 1 p.m. local time on Tuesday, has increased to 429.

Spokesman of the National Disaster Mitigation Agency (BNPB) Sutopo Purwo Nugroho made the remarks at a press gathering here, adding that the tsunami affected the five districts of Pandeglang and Serang in Banten Province and the districts of South Lampung, Pesawaran, and Tanggamus in Lampung Province.

"(The death toll) can possibly increase, the most severe impact being in Pandeglang," Nugroho revealed.

The BNPB also revealed that until the third day after the Sunda Strait tsunami struck on Saturday night on December 22, 2018, 1,485 people were injured, 154 went missing, and 16,082 people were displaced.

According to Sutopo, of the five districts, Pandeglang suffered the worst impact, with 290 people dead, 1,143 injured, 77 missing, and 14,395 displaced.

In South Lampung District, 108 people died, 279 were injured, nine were missing, and 1,373 people were displaced.

Meanwhile, in Serang District, 29 people died, 62 were injured, 68 were missing, and 83 were displaced. One person died, one was injured, and 231 were displaced in Pesawaran, while one died in Tanggamus.

In the face of the natural disaster, the emergency response period has been applied for 14 days for Pandeglang District, from December 22, 2018, to January 4, 2019, while for South Lampung, the emergency response period is applicable for a week, on December 23-29, 2018.

"It can likely be extended in accordance with the conditions," he added.

Out of the total number of dead victims, 84 bodies have decomposed at Pandeglang`s Berkah general hospital, according to Raden Dewi Sentani, head of the Pandeglang District Health affairs office.

"All bodies have not been identified, thereby leading to difficulties for their families in recognizing (the decomposed bodies)," he remarked.

The Berkah hospital does not have adequate refrigeration facility to preserve the large number of corpses.

At present, the dead bodies have been stored in a room without cooling facilities that can result in their decomposition, thereby posing a threat to public health.

Thus, the hospital management has urged the Ministry of Health to provide refrigerated containers to store the large number of bodies.

The corpses lying for three days in the hospital would have been discolored, thereby hindering the identification process.

Raden further suggested that bodies kept for more than a week should be buried en masse, as the decomposed corpses emit a foul odor that pose a danger to public health.

Reporting by Budisantoso B/Muklasin/Andi Abdussalam

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