8 Dec 2004

Disease outbreak after Papua quakes

4:04 pm on 8 December 2004

A medical officer in Indonesia says there are now almost 2,500 reported cases of malaria, respiratory and diarrhoea cases in Papua's Nabire hospital following a series of earthquakes there.

The earthquakes began on November the 25th, with the latest aftershock recorded on Sunday.

Dr Kyaw Win, who works for the World Health Organisation's Emergency and Humanitarian Action team, says so far there have been 31 deaths.

He says there are 1106 reported cases of malaria, 910 cases of the flu and 481 cases of people with chronic diarrhoea.

Dr Win says a major water shortage is to blame for the health problems.

"Most people are living outside, and the water system has been damaged, so this is one of the major key area that public works is trying to handle. This also relates to diarrhoea and respiratory tract infections - poor water sanitation and hygiene."

Dr Kyaw Win says the Ministry of Health has sent more drugs to treat patients at Nabire hospital.