18 Feb 2004

Disease the latest problem for homeless quake victims in Papua

4:13 pm on 18 February 2004

Families made homeless by the earthquake in Indonesia's remote Papua province are now having to cope with an outbreak of dysentery and a surge in malaria infections.

Two thousand people are living in tents in Nabire, the town most affected by the quake.

The organisational development officer of the Indonesia Federation of the Red Cross and Red Crescent, Omar Valdimarsson, says the biggest challenge now is helping the homeless.

"So what we are beginning to contemplate and trying to see whether we could possibly do, is to provide shelter material for these 400 families, that is to say, roofing iron, timber, wooden pillars, nails, cement, etcetera, to help these people to build their own homes again."

Mr Valdimarsson says the relief workers will soon launch a public awareness campaign on how to prepare for an earthquake.

He says the last one on this scale was only two years ago, and people have to learn how to live with regular quakes.