1 November 1998
Tackling drought The economy has been severely affected by the crisis in Southeast Asia. President Suharto left office in May 1998. MSF trucked around 11 million litres of water to Gununk Kidul district in the Yogjakarta province of Java from early December 1997 to mid-January 1998 when rain ended the drought caused by El Nino. This project was implemented under the emergency plan submitted by the local authorities to central government. In March, an MSF project began to build or upgrade 520 water tanks for the most vulnerable members of the population, along with improvements to the water pipe network. Drought was also the reason behind MSF assistance in constructing 50 community-based water pumps in Central Lampung district of Lampung province in Sumatra, where 25 villages (pop. 100,000) lacked drinking water. The first part of this project began in March. A training programme on pump construction and maintenance started later. A health and sanitation programme to reduce outbreaks of endemic disease was introduced in close collaboration with the local authorities. MSF supplies medical assistance to fire- and drought-affected areas in Irian Jaya province. Drugs and medical material are given to the Ministry of Health and MSF is involved in supervising storage and utilisation (decentralised distribution). A health education programme has been implemented in close collaboration with the Ministry of Health, and MSF will also assist with epidemiological and nutritional monitoring.