Quake-hit Indonesian city sprayed to stop disease
Health workers fanned out across Padang on Tuesday to douse the Indonesian city with disinfectant over concerns about disease outbreaks six days after a deadly earthquake rattled Sumatra, Reuters reported.
The rescue mission in Padang, a port city of 900,000, and in surrounding hills devastated by landslides has now turned to a huge relief effort to help thousands who have lost their homes. While aid has poured into the area, the scale of the disaster, heavy rains and damage to roads has meant that some relief supplies have built up at various points, triggering anger on the ground.
"I have seen reports on TV of boxes piling up at the airport and not making it to victims. That's not fair. Those are the secondary items, not the priority items like food and water," said Gamawan Fauzi, the governor of West Sumatra.
On Monday, Reuters correspondents in a number of different areas were told by villagers that little if any aid had arrived.
"Yesterday all I had to eat was a packet of instant noodles. All of us are hungry. We hear on the radio very nice words that aid is pouring in, but where is it?," asked Erol, a resident with a 10-day-old infant in Pasa Dama, a village outside Padang.
Governor Fauzi denied that any of the aid supplies were falling into the wrong hands.
"The receipt of aid is signed off by the head of each sub-district. So we know what they have received. I think the risk of corruption is small, but if anyone is caught doing that they must punished," added Fauzi.
The governor said rotting bodies were a big hazard to health now and experts were monitoring for cases of cholera and tetanus. "We have sent out of a lot of disinfectant and we will spray in Padang today," he said.
President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono criticized on Monday evening local officials in the quake-hit area for not focusing enough on emergency needs and too much on reconstruction needs.
"What I want to know is what is being done for emergency steps, such as food supply, electricity supply, fuel supply and other aspects," Yudhoyono said before a cabinet meeting.